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Monday, September 13, 2010

House Chef

"So who cooks?" I am sometimes asked this question after stating my job as a stay-at-home-dad (and therefore exposing that I do not leave home for a job). "I mostly cook, but my wife will also cook periodically," has been my standard answer. I then get either a validating nod or a suspicious -- I mean an "interesting" -- stare from the individual asking.  My inclination is to second guess this "interesting" stare as possibly the look of someone who is not on board with my stay-at-home status.  However, I want to avoid my over-analysis by replacing such a weak answer with this one: "I am the house chef."

House chef... it has a strong-like-bull context and reinstates me back into the hierarchy for those who stare at me with suspicion, or I mean with interest. Not that I live by society's code in America, because I mostly do not. I try to challenge it anytime I can or am aware that I can. And that is the key... being aware of when I can challenge the status quo. Since I was raised in it, under it, behind it, on top of it, etc... it is hard for me to recognize it.

I did work in the restaurant industry from the age of 17 until I was in my early thirties, but mostly front-of-the-house positions, i.e. waiter, bartender and front-of-house manager. My back-of-house experience is mediocre. I periodically cooked in almost all the places I waited tables in except for the places that were "known" for their food, including the sushi restaurant in Huntington Beach, Ca. The sushi place was the last restaurant position before entering the education industry.

I believe I picked up a lot of "tools" from many of these restaurants: I clean as I go and there is no 10-Second Rule applied here at the house. Roasted chicken, London Broil or Pepper Steak (with the pepper sauce made from scratch) are on my menus. Veggies are steamed to keep from losing the vitamins and the carbs are managed so not to take over the meal.

My wife bought me a new set of pots and pans from Macy's on a very impressive sale. These babies are stainless steel and I am almost not wanting to use them so to preserve their newness. This is really going to bring my cooking up a level. I am thinking of picking up some black and white checkered pants and carrying around a meat cleaver during the evening hours between 5-7, but I would be the only one impressed.

The Bubs doesn't care who cooks the food as long as he eats when he's hungry.

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