It is time to make the confession that has had me in denial. No amount of burnt pans, failed recipes or near food poisonings can remotely come near to the thoughts in my head of this immense feeling of failure. I am failing as a housewife. My cooking skills are lacking to say the least. It is hard to believe that before I met my husband, I actually would throw elaborate Friday night dinners with friends and roast a 20 pound turkey like it was an average day at the office. Somehow, those talents disappeared and I am struggling to bring them back. Baking, sure that is still there (hence why I can safely display my latest experiments), but baking is a science. Cooking, is well, more crucial. You need to be adventurous, you need to bring in some tradition, you need to be creative, it is your fuel, it is the bulk of what you eat. It is also a challenge.
Upon getting married, like every Jewish housewife, we received challah covers, cook books, food dishes and candles to ensure we had all the tools to have a good Shabbat dinner together as husband and wife. It was an incentive for me, however, we never made it to Friday night as by Wednesday I had guaranteed to already make a meal my husband hated or worse a meal we both hated. To my horror the situation reached new proportions when I heard a rumor that friends were wondering why I haven’t yet had everyone over for Shabbat dinner like every married Jewish woman would do. I wanted to scream it isn’t safe. You either will get something that doesn’t taste good, or somehow my unwanted four legged cooking assistants will have managed to get an extra ingredient into the food in form of their hair. My feeling of failure reached new heights as we have a few friends who can make the best meals with so much love, passion and time. There is no way I can compete with that. My husband’s support by sending me to a cooking workshop was just the icing on the cake.
I most definitely didn’t come from a family of cooks, in fact we rarely saw our kitchen. However, moving away from home, I wanted a different lifestyle so I cook 95% at home. However, I like really healthy and simple recipes. My husband, on the other hand, well lets just say our cats are more open minded. As all fruits and most vegetables are a no go in his book. Tomatoes, well that just sends us into a new crisis mode. So I am not left with a lot to work with. His cooking as an option? Well, lets just not go there.
There is a strong feeling for me to live up to this cooking thing. After all, the soul of most households takes place around the dinner table. It is important, especially for down the line should we expand beyond cats. There needs to be good food in place, after all, we also remember recipes and tastes. I still crave recipes my Auntie makes, because it tastes good and I remember the big family meals we ate around that food. It is important that I can also bring that to our house. Okay okay, I wouldn’t complain if I win some bragging rights for my food from my husband. But seriously, we want to have Friday night meals as a must and not in the form of frozen schnitzels.
So what is this newlywed left to do? Well, I may not have as much time as I would like to make elaborate meals. Okay no time. I may also be living in a country with some of the most boring food around and missing most ingredients beyond potatoes and cheese. I also take pride in the fact I am not too traditional. However, this is one traditional aspect I will not give up on. Challenge accepted, time to revisit my Pinterest obsession with recipes, search high and low for ingredients, plan out meals. Find time, even if that means cooking in advanced and stock piling like a national geographic hoarder. The time has come to trial and error every recipe in our cook books. Find what works and create a book of recipes that I know I can cook. Have recipes that will bring my husband back to his time in Israel and show him that it is true, the stories from friends that I can cook is not just folklore. Oh and yes invite people over for dinner, because that is what the first year of marriage is just about. No pressure or anything, just a nice 3 course Friday night meal for friends. With great optimism, I hope in a few months I can write about success and hopefully without having burned the kitchen down!