One of my husband’s many skills is that he’s a pretty darn good cook. With the current busy-ness of our life, it’s rare he gets to really prep and cook the kinds of meals he wants to – complicated and layered and full of flavor. (Though he’s recently taken to smoking meat with a charcoal smoker he was given by my BIL on the weekends, which has been awesome!)
But even without the complicated recipes and such, whenever he cooks a meal for us – even as simple as pasta and sauce or tacos, he always does this thing where he throws a dishtowel over his shoulder as he cooks, a throwaway from his college degree in hospitality and restaurant administration classes.
It’s actually a pretty handy thing to have over your shoulder- a quick way to clean up a mess or wipe your hands (or staunch bleeding, as is my wont, haha!). So I’ve adopted the use of the towel over my shoulder as well, though not as much as Jeff does.
It’s also my husband’s influence that is forcing me to get better about teaching Owen how to cook.
I tend to be a worrier in the kitchen, mostly because I have cut myself with a knife and burned myself more times than I can count. I’m also OCD about prepping; I usually feel like I have to measure and chop everything before I can start cooking. Cooking with Owen is stressful for me because I’m always worried about him hurting himself… and most of the time he gets bored because I’m cutting and chopping for what seems like far too long before I’m “ready” for him to help.
But Jeff never seems to be that concerned about it; and Owen loves to help. Under his tutelage, Owen’s cut vegetables and even made tacos on his own one night.
And until recently, I’ve been okay with letting that be their thing. I’ve let them cook together and stayed out of the kitchen when it’s happening. It’s less stressful for me, of course, but it also means I don’t get to share my love of cooking with Owen, too. And really – the only way he’s going to learn how to cook is by getting the opportunity to cook.
So last night the recipe on our weekly menu was a stir fry of sorts, made with ginger and garlic and onion and ground beef, with some thawed frozen veggies mixed in. As Owen set up to do his homework in the kitchen, I quickly chopped the ginger and garlic and onion, added them to the skillet, then I asked if he wanted to help brown the beef while I made the sauce.
He went to the sink, washed his hands, went over and got his stool. I was gathering ingredients for the sauce and not really paying attention, but then he stood in front of the skillet and I looked over to make sure he wasn’t too close.
And I saw this.
Oh, my heart.