Have you read about me? If you have you would not be surprised that I am already writing about the kitchen. Hehehehe!
I never imagined being with someone who felt comfortable watching sports with legs crossed all the time while I sweat it out in the kitchen
SA cooks well, but of course next to me he is a ‘learner’. I only have brothers-in-law and perhaps this is the singular reason why he feels very comfortable being in the kitchen. I never imagined being with someone who felt comfortable watching sports with legs crossed all the time while I sweat it out in the kitchen, but to be honest I have it a lot better than I hoped for. From Noodles to Amala, he delivers with no mess ups, and 80% of the time we are in the kitchen together.
Now and then we have our petty arguments; I can be such a boss, wanting things diced, sprinkled and poured out my way, while SA, he is the clean freak, ‘oh, rinse that first’, ‘don’t drop the sponge there’, ‘you did not return the lighter to its place again’ and so on. Notwithstanding, having him around in the kitchen always feels like the sweetest thing ever, we’d gist, laugh, play, touch (ehn ehn now), and listen to songs together. On some occasions he’d work there while I cooked.
I was always livid each time I finished cooking and mum strolled in to serve the meal – her sharing formula was always befuddling!
I grew up in a somewhat hybrid family, a mix of traditional & modern, and typically my mum owned the kitchen – I mean women own the kitchen, right? I was always livid each time I finished cooking and mum strolled in to serve the meal – her sharing formula was always befuddling! Then, everything had to be exactly where she wanted it to be, nobody took anything from the freezer without her express permission and so on. The point is we knew who called the shot in the kitchen, mum, and mum only. In fact, Dad had to be sure she was in jovial mood if he wanted to steal, scrap that – take fried meat. I looked forward to owning my own kitchen – not just as a single lady living alone, but as a wife and mother.
Now imagine my chagrin when I notice that the mound of onions in the store has reduced by half. What could have happened? SA walks in and says he’d given some to so and so. Let’s have this disclaimer very quickly: I am generous giver! The only thing I can’t give is what I don’t have. Perhaps if I had been the one to give out the onions I may have given just as much, but I couldn’t comprehend how SA felt it was okay to dispense resources from MY KITCHEN at will. Not after waiting twenty-something years to own my own kitchen and be the law of it. Some other time I needed to use the blender and I realized it wasn’t where I usually kept it. It was on a higher slab of the store shelf. I was irked. This time I didn’t even ask SA any question, I just replaced everything as noisily as I could.
I was going to butt him out of MY KITCHEN and destroy whatever physical or emotional attachment he had with it.
I started to wonder why he felt so comfortable tampering with things in the kitchen without telling me first. It was super unusual, I didn’t know any men – from my dad, dad-in-law, uncles, any man at all who took any interest or bothered about the use and placement of kitchen resources – why was mine different? It was on one of such reflective moments that I decided why – yes, I decided why. SA shared the kitchen with me, he helped me, stayed with me, we literally used the space together, this had to be why he thought we were co-owners! Co-owners as in how? Which kind be dat one?! I decided I was going to change it for him. I began doing all the dishes myself, refused him cooking anything, anything at all. I was going to butt him out of MY KITCHEN and destroy whatever physical or emotional attachment he had with it. Omo!!! I wish I could tell you I succeeded.
I finally realized this was a quality to encourage rather than fight him over
It was tiring! I got overworked and burdened with kitchen chores. SA was totally oblivious to my scheming, just eating up and chilling. I started to feel upset that he was relishing the food I cooked all by myself. Do you want to guess the worst part? He did not stop taking and placing things in the kitchen as he liked. You know how the Yoruba bible says – ‘ti oluwa ni ile ati ekun re, aye ati awon ti won tedo sinu re’? That was it! It sunk deep in my mind and consciousness. SA felt we owned everything together, he wasn’t compartmentalizing, it didn’t matter if it was the kitchen or the car, we were to have joint access to everything without denial. And just as he’d ask me to wash the car with him, helping in the kitchen was natural to him. I finally realized this was a quality to encourage rather than fight him over.
If I did not like how he moved things around I could politely let him know why – for instance I placed the blender where it would easily dry out, not topple over and be reachable for me as I am not as tall as he is. Also, I explained it was better he made suggestions on what to give out, than just going right ahead to do so. This way I am not taken by surprise when someone tells me ‘Thank you ma’, also I am aware of how much quantity of each food item we have per time.
It’s okay if your husband is different and rarely steps foot in the kitchen, look on the bright side – you are indeed the law! An ambition I just may never attain. You can also cook in bulk and store up so that throughout the week you do more of warming than cooking from scratch, a microwave would be an asset – this way you save time and feel less exhausted. Better still you can take pictures of you as the one below and splash them on his DM.
I have a lot of gist to share from my kitchen; in the meanwhile, I’ll be happy to read from you in the comment section.