“Home Cooking”: Where many a man thinks his wife is

Regardless of what my title implies, this is not to be a diatribe about chauvinistic husbands keeping their wives barefoot and pregnant (which describes this particular woman perfectly and I am quite pleased about it!). Instead, its about getting my husband in the kitchen. Sure, I can count on one hand the number of times Aaron has cooked, and when he has, it has always been in the role of “sous chef”. (We picked up that term from watching a lot of Top Chef.) However rare these instances, they have been precious.

I think my love of cooking was nurtured by the countless hours spent beside my mom in her kitchen growing up. Many miniature pies were clumsily yet lovingly crafted from scraps of pie dough and raspberry jam. I also loved pouring over cookbooks and Taste of Home magazines, dreaming about all the scrumptious things I could make. Twenty-odd years later, this enjoyment holds true. As a wife, I have learned that the key to shared cooking ventures is to let my husband get excited about an idea or a dish on his own. Like the time he thought he’d “invented” plantain lasagna, only to find out that it was already an extremely popular Puerto Rican meal. We didn’t let the lack of novelty get us down, and thoroughly enjoyed both making and eating this cheesy plantain concoction with hint of nutmeg and citrus flavors. Aaron acted as resident food photographer, showing off our hard work via social media before we dug in to our well-earned meal. And so, the “recipe” for getting my husband to cook was revealed.

Months passed and I was full term in my pregnancy when the next cooking inspiration came to him. After spending time researching ways to induce labor, Aaron discovered a recipe for eggplant parmesan. An Italian restaurant became notorious for its eggplant parmesan, boasting that over 300 women had gone into labor within 48 hours of dining of this particular dish. Our experiment began with me printing the recipe and Aaron purchasing the needed ingredients on his way home from work. Tonight was the night. Another fun evening of dicing and mixing together, documenting the process for our family and friends, and three meals later, I was in labor. Now this was hardly a controlled experiment. We can’t be sure it was the eggplant parm or perhaps the five miles I stubbornly walked the night before. Either way, this recipe is delicious and comes highly recommended by, expecting or not.

Our most recent kitchen experiment is credited to the upcoming Superbowl. As of late, Aaron is obsessed with pairing football and wings, so as his loving wife whose duty it is to make his wildest dreams come true, we spent our Friday evening testing spicy buffalo and thai flavored wings. Our wings were succulent and flavorful, however, we scribbled in our chef’s notes to try an egg white bath next time to hopefully master a crispier skin. These handful of kitchen adventures together were full quality time and laughter, not to mention the added bonus of sharing a household chore. We’ve discussed making this a common activity at our house. As long as I keep the “formula”, I think it could stick. Maybe some of our future projects will include drinking Red Stripe while making Jamaican beef patties in honor of our honeymoon, or tackling Aaron’s favorite dish, Thai Coconut Green Curry, or experimenting with entrees that feature different kinds of fruit. Whatever gets Aaron motivated to cook with me, I’m looking forward to the next experiment. I think one of the worthwhile challenges of marriage is finding out how to take the pedestrian things in life and make them exciting opportunities to make memories together.

And just for fun, if you’re interested in any of the recipes I mentioned in this blog, you can find the links below. All of these dishes come highly recommended from the Rayburn Family! Happy Cooking!

Plantain Lasagna: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=174841

Scalini’s Famous Eggplant Parmesan: http://www.wchstv.com/gmarecipes/eggplantparmigian.shtml

Thai Flavored Wings: http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaisnacks/r/BBQchickenwings.htm

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