Dinner was served...
...don't worry, Richard, I've got this
Richard, my husband and the author of 'Sh*t Richard Says' (which he occasionally writes for this space), had his flight from Baltimore canceled this week, the day before a scheduled dinner party.
Richard has helmed food prep in our household for the past 23 years of our partnership, so he assumed I would reschedule the gathering.
"Naw," I said. "It's hard enough to coordinate the schedules of busy people, so I'll tackle the project and hope you can arrive before everyone leaves."
"You sure?" he asked about five times.
When he spots me picking up a nearby knife to cut and peel an avocado, Richard's a guy who might swoop over and say: "Here, try this knife instead. You'll find it easier to use it."
Cooking is his hobby. We have magazines, cutting boards, pots, pans, an induction stove, and gadgets devoted to this obsession. And I blame the extra pounds I carry squarely on him.
We have a deal. Richard doesn't balk at the techy gadgets I bring home, nor do I scorn his purchasing one more knife or All-Clad saucepan. I do not make fun of his need for all sizes and shapes of cutting boards. It's an easy out for a birthday gift.
Most women who have experienced his cooking will tell me in astonishment, "You are so lucky."
And this is true.
When he makes a batch of soup, a couple of widows in the building usually find a Tupperware container on their doorstep.
And, yes, I am very fortunate, nor should this column be interpreted in any way other than I genuinely adore this guy.
Still, one gets rusty after not doing something like cooking for 23 years. The enormity of the task ahead caused me to email our guests to forewarn them.
"Sounds like a column to me," answered a fellow Iowa Writers' Collaborative member.
This relationship role was established early on. When Richard and I first started seeing each other, he lived in Chicago while I was in Des Moines. As we looked forward to his first visit, I reviewed my cooking utensils and thought I'd better improve my game.
K-Mart had a special on an entire SET of pots and pans. I was sure the shiny new cookware would impress him. Of course, I know now that the entire box costs less than one All-Clad pasta pot.
Months later, when we combined households, the K-Mart specials did not survive the cut. And I found it easier and easier to let go of the idea I had to cook.
The dinner party fare was fine, by the way —more than acceptable. Who can screw up pasta, right? And Richard arrived right as I served the Costco Key Lime pie.
I've still got it.
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Robert Leonard: Deep Midwest: Politics and Culture, Bussey
Letters from Iowans, Iowa
Tar Macias: Hola Iowa, Iowa
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Wini Moranville, Wini’s Food Stories, Des Moines
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Jane Nguyen, The Asian Iowan, West Des Moines
John Naughton: My Life, in Color, Des Moines
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Larry Stone: Listening to the Land, Elkader
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