Every wife/working woman knows that after years of having her husband at work all day, when he retires, things change around the house. Mine retired and flopped around aimlessly for several years before hitting on something to do with all this time on his hands. I suggested that there were things he could do around here which would be helpful—instead of just micro-managing me, reading The Economist, and playing solitaire. Eventually, he took something up.
Typically—at least, I think it’s typical—the tasks he decided he’d like to take over were also the ones I most enjoyed—shopping and cooking. Somehow, women are always left with the scrubbing, mopping, vacuuming, and cleaning of bathrooms, the least favorite parts of the routine. We must have it written on our foreheads, or on some stone tablet s somewhere: “Woman, Thou Shalt Clean Toilets and Vacuum Cat Hair off the furniture to the End of thy Days.”
Anyhow, at last he took up doing something, so these are now mostly off my to-do list. I need to mention that he’s not much of a yardwork or DIY guy either. Not likely to launch into painting, or even mowing when it’s the season for that. I do half the mowing and at least half of the snow shoveling, so I’m standing by my man on those fronts, but I sometimes wish he had more of a bent for DIY. We’ve got a carpet in the unfinished basement that could probably qualify as a superfund site, but, I digress.
He’s been “learning shopping.” This entails frequent calls from the supermarket to ask me what the hell my handwriting says, or what the hell is that and where the hell can that weird-ass ingredient be found? There’s a smallish local supermarket that we’ve patronized for the last 30 years, so I pretty much have the place memorized.
He chopped meticulously and produced an entire mixing bowl filled to the top with onions. Then with butter, salt, the same technique I’m learning as we do that “Indian Cooking” together, I slowly stirred them over medium/high for a very long time, while they cooked down and down and down and finally changed color. Next came the chicken stock, added a little at a time, all the while cooking and cooking, reducing and reducing, and at the end, a LOT of Parmesan, quickly whisked in. It took us amateur cooks about three hours, but eventually we’d produced about six bowls of very tasty onion soup.
I don’t think either of us are going to be ready for Chopped any time soon.