I cook you clean?

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? I would personally think there are easier ways to get a guy’s attention but it doesn’t exactly hurt to try something new in the kitchen occasionally.

When Corey and I were first married I worked very hard in a busy pathology lab. I got home late, had to cook things that cooked quickly so it was mostly bottled sauces with fried meat. Corey hated my beef stir-frys, hated my apricot chicken, honey-mustard chicken and sweet n sour pork. He thought my spaghetti bolognaise was dodgy. He had recently graduated and was looking for work so he did most of the cooking. We had burritos and tacos a lot. We also ate a lot of takeaway and a “healthy” meal for us was reheated pies and chips with frozen peas… Somehow we survived.

When I was pregnant with Alexis the only food I could guarantee I would not throw up was a whopper with cheese from hungry jacks. (Surprisingly I didn’t gain any pregnancy weight but I did have to give birth to a 4.5kg baby..) So it’s only once Alexis was born that I started to really think about what I was feeding us. Alexis wasn’t the easiest baby in the world so Corey still had to cook a lot.

Once Alexis was eating solids regularly I started feeding us all meat and steamed veggies most nights. It’s easy, it’s healthy, it’s yum. Then she entered the world of pasta and it became spag Bol a lot. Or plain pasta with cheese, peas and tomato sauce… Alexis wasn’t fussy, unlike Corey, who would just go get himself McDonalds if I tried to serve him something like that.

Little by little I got a bit more adventurous. It all started with a home made shepherds pie many months ago. The kids hated it because it was new but I will always remember the reaction I got from Corey.

These days I try hard to serve up new meals on a regular basis. It feels good when his eyes light up when he sees the food on the table (or in the oven or on the bench) when he gets home from work. He really enjoyed it when I did the honey soy chicken drumsticks with roast veggies last month (and again last week), he loved my recent attempt at chicken schnitzel, he likes my slow-cooked chicken and he loves it when I bake.

He has learned that saying “thanks honey” or “that was great” or “I love you, you’re so good to me” increases my confidence and encourages me to keep trying new things. It’s nice when he praises my cooking. It feels good to make him happy. Slowly but surely I’ve become the sort of person who actually likes cooking.

Add to that the fact that I’ve been concerned with all the additives in foods. I’ve noticed that my mood drops when we’ve had takeaway or lots of fatty food and my anxiety levels spike when I’ve had too much bottled sauces as I’m intolerant to onion which is in just about everything. When I eat well consistently for a few days I start to feel better. I have been craving burgers like you wouldn’t believe though. I know Corey has too.

So last night when hubby got home he walked in to this.

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Home made chips, home made sweet potato chips, home made burgers. From scratch. No onion other than in the sauces. Although I must say that the ingredients list for breadcrumbs horrified me. Can you make your own breadcrumbs by just tearing up old bread? Anyway, did Corey love the burgers? Very much so. He didn’t stop raving about them for half an hour. Which is good because it took me 3 hours to make it all.

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He then found a cockroach crawling across the floor, killed it and said, “you’ve got to keep this house cleaner.” Instead of going off my tree at him I tried a different tact. “Can you please help me?” I asked. “I’m doing the best I can.” I offered to serve ham sandwiches for dinner until I had managed to get the house to a satisfactory standard while also being busy raising our two kids. I then unpacked and repacked the dishwasher while he picked up some of the kids toys.

He then asked me if I could bath the kids. Sure! So I sat beside the bath playing with the kids while he packed up the toys, vacuumed the floor and got all the furniture off the tiled areas. While I was feeding William and Alexis was asleep he mopped. He did a rather nice job too.

Thanks Corey. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. 🙂

I then did the dishes without complaining while he played on his phone. I know how tiring cleaning our floor can be, although he at least did it while I was occupying the kids for him. He’s faster than me though. Maybe because his arms and legs are longer? Maybe because I’m meticulous and spend ten minutes vacuuming one rug… This might be a good system for us. I cook you clean?

Is the way to a man’s heart through his stomach? Maybe not but it doesn’t hurt to try.

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6 Replies to “I cook you clean?”

  1. Good on you for trying new things! It can be so easy to stick to the same old, same old especially after having kids. And getting new meals traded off for cleaning is even better 🙂 How did you do your sweet potato chips? I still haven’t been able to get a successful batch yet.

    1. Hi Luana
      Thanks for your lovely comment.
      Truthfully I just cut the sweet potato to look like chips and steamed them on the stove. They were a bit soggy but this was ok as the target eater was my 2-toothed-12-month-old. For the potato chips I steamed them until soft then put on a baking tray, sprayed with canola oil and baked for about 40 minutes. I guess the sweet potato would work much the same but I couldn’t say for sure.

      1. I might have to try that. The recipe I did for the sweet potato chips said to soak them in water, coat them in cornflour and bake but they were a floury, burnt mess. Steaming + baking would be a much better option! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  2. I’ve honestly never really had a drama with cooking. I think I was blessed to grow up with a family that loved food and cooking. I often just google ideas for recipes. Sometimes I make massive failures, but occasionally I find awesome recipes that go on a regular rotation and become favorites! I think cooking is a lot about common sense- and it also helps to clean as you go. But I must admit, my culinary skills have taken a nosedive since I became a Mum… mostly because I either can’t be bothered, or because it is just that much harder with the kids. We are getting better though. Georgie is getting to the age where she is starting to help more- and understands that sometimes she can help and other times she mustn’t touch. I often do a couple of meals every week that I can prepare ahead of time while the kids nap, and Hubs and I have a nice little system going where he cooks and I do the bath time routine a couple of nights a week. I just plan easy meals for him, like steak and salad, or tacos. But cooking when you have kids is definitely a much harder chore!

    1. My hubby can cook but I try not to depend on him because it is better for all if we eat as soon as he gets home. If we get lamb chops or steak I make him BBQ but we don’t have it often as the kids don’t eat it anyway. I’m getting him a brand new shiny fancy BBQ for his birthday in the hope that he’ll start wanting to use it more on the weekends.

      I think cooking is hard once you have kids because kids don’t care how much effort you put into something. My daughter would prefer continental side dish Mac n cheese to just about anything. She turns her nose up at so many things I cook. William, on the other hand, will eat just about anything but he only has two teeth so that complicates things a bit..

      I can cook with two kids under foot now that they are a bit older. I just have to be very organised and not get upset by distractions. One of them will poop while I’m cooking. Every single time. They’ll also demand food or drink as soon as I enter the kitchen.. I learn to work around it. 🙂

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