This harmony, of course, takes quite some time to master. When my husband and I cooked together for the first time, I went close to hitting him in the head with the skillet he asked me to wipe. I thought to myself, WE are supposed to be cooking, not cleaning kitchenware! Why was I the one left to do menial things while he had all his creative juices running?
I wiped the skillet, beat the mixtures, and measured the ingredients albeit against my will. All afternoon that we were cooking, I was grumbling like the devil.
But one appetizer, two entrées and one dessert later, we were a couple again. He, the food scientist, created a sumptuous meal. Had I let my pride get the best of me, we would not have finished in the kitchen, and our guests would have starved to death.
I realized that it was not easy for him to see me struggling the way I did either. I was then an amateur in the kitchen, while he had been practically making a living working in it. In all fairness, he warned me before we cooked that the kitchen has room for only one chef, and one of us had to give way and be the sous-chef. When it was my turn to be the chef, he so politely did what I asked him to do—without any devilish grumblings in the background, mind you.
How to cook as a couple:
Start with simple meals. If it’s the first time for both of you to cook, start even simpler, like breakfast during weekends or a stir-fry meal for lunch. A pasta entrée makes for a good division of labor; one of you can take care of the pasta while the other cooks up the sauce.
About three cookbooks that have different menus for different occasions and seasons should be enough. (We have Italian, Asian, Simple Pasta, and Old-fashioned Holiday cookbooks at home). The Web is rife with recipes of sorts, but I suggest finding Web sites that would best suit your needs and lifestyle. They also have to be sites that were recommended by those who have tried and "tasted" them. Most of my recipes were lifted from Unilever Food Solutions and Unilever. These two sites have a multitude of recipes that range from special holiday meals to everyday dinners, and were contributed by an army of seasoned culinary experts. Plus, I never have a hard time looking for the ingredients in their recipes. That is a definite bonus especially if you and your partner have little time to run to the supermarket.
Here’s a simple entrée you and your partner can try together.
2 tbsp. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
2 tsbp. all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. green pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. celery, chopped
1 jar (16 oz.) Tostitos salsa (mild or medium, depending on your palate)
1 can (8-oz.) tomato sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 ½ shrimp, cleaned, deveined
1. Heat butter and flour in a non-stick saucepan until brown, stirring constantly.
2. Add garlic, green pepper, red pepper and celery. Sauté for 2 minutes or until tender.
3. Stir in salsa and tomato sauce. Mix evenly. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in shrimp. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Stir in soy sauce and simmer for one more minute. Serve warm over rice.
Note: The adjective "creole" refers to a type of food prepared with rice, tomatoes, peppers and sometimes, okra.