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When my husband and I got married, things were pretty smooth that first year. I’d heard horror stories from newlyweds about adjusting to living together, but we got lucky. I think part of it was that we were so grateful to be together after our opposite-sides-of-the-world romance, and part was that we drove home together from work each night. Thirty minutes in a car lets you deal with any “issues” before you even walk into the apartment.
But one thing that made me bonkers was his reaction to my call of “Dinner’s ready!!!”
My pronouncement that my latest newlywed-in-the-kitchen creation was complete got him up and moving . . . and doing things OTHER than coming to the table right then to eat.
He’d head to the bedroom to change. He’d get up and grab the newspaper he didn’t finish that morning, and then READ IT.
He’d do some other thing that wasn’t eating.
I thought I was going to LOSE my mind. At first, I was confused. Then, I was mad.
Finally, either through a confrontation or a random conversation (it has been fifteen years and my memory is fuzzy), I figured out what was going on.
Before we got married, we talked about how things were in our homes growing up. We both had moms who cooked.
We had exactly the same philosophy about the importance of eating at home.
We both understood the importance of sitting down together around a hot meal.
Not so much.
Here’s the thing. His mom worked full time. My mom stayed home. They both cooked for their families. Both of their families ate home-cooked meals every night.
But they did it in very different ways. When my mom said dinner was ready, we all stopped whatever we were doing and ran to the table. We ate the food that had just come off the stove or out of the oven. Letting the food get cold was something we knew not to do.
His mother cooked on the weekends. Big pots of beans and pans of cornbread. Pot-roasts and casseroles and baked chicken breasts. Then, throughout the week, they ate that food.
That home-cooked food.
But if his mom said, “Dinner is ready!” (which I’m not sure she did), it meant come fix yourself a plate and warm it up. That can be done immediately or five or ten minutes later.
Neither way is right or wrong. Both women cooked. Both women put in real effort and time and work to ensure they didn’t blow the family budget eating fast food.
Both women are wonderful cooks.
They just did it differently.
Once I understood why Hubby didn’t react the way I wanted him to react to my declaration that dinner was ready, I gained such respect for my Mother in Law’s way of doing things. I’ve learned a lot from her and some of my best freezer cooking ideas are based on how she cooked.
Not that Hubby dawdles at dinnertime anymore. He’s learned.