The first rule of Dirty Dish Club is you do not talk about Dirty Dish Club. Scratch that, please do talk about it.
When we were first married we lived in a 360 square foot attic apartment. There wasn’t a dishwasher and the oven dial had a piece of paper taped over it with the numbers written on by hand. We didn’t have much, but we turned that “love grotto” into a home with the sound of our laughter and the aroma of our cooking. Like most newlyweds, we rarely fought, but if we did it was usually about whose turn it was to wash the mountain of dirty dishes. A lot of things have changed in the last 9 years, but two things haven’t: our love for each other and that nagging sink of dirty dishes. These days we live in the Denver Metro area and work hard to please our toughest and most unappreciative critics yet: our two little kids. Someday they’ll appreciate all our efforts . . . and even if they don’t, by then we can make them do the dishes.
As an eight-year-old, I viewed my parents refusal to buy me an easy bake oven as a serious sign of deprivation and decided to take matters into my own hands. I would sneak into the kitchen while my parents were distracted and make up a recipe for a scorched microwave cake or create a giant sugar cookie sculpture that was crisp on the outside and doughy on the inside. It always mystified me why my parents were less than pleased to discover I’d pilfered their pantry and used their oven unsupervised. Twenty years of practice has thankfully improved my skills and even won me a few blue ribbons, friends, and maybe even a husband along the way. Officially, I’m trained to be a high school English and Physical Education teacher, but closed that chapter of my life when my son came along. Much to Noel’s dismay, I have a habit of poking things in the oven without wearing oven mitts, I’m fairly certain the dishwasher is one of the best inventions of the 20th century and I have turned making fun of “recipes” that consist of mixing together packaged items into a form of recreation. While the kitchen will always be a respite, my favorite way to clear my head is to throw on my running shoes and hit one of the trails near my house. In addition to good genetics, this is also the secret to why I’m still a “skinny cook.”
I learned to cook to impress a girl. Guess who? I made her a romantic dinner of Chicken Cacciatore the first time I cooked for her. Unfortunately at the time I was unaware of the difference between a clove and a bulb of garlic. In spite of the–um–aromatic consequences she married me anyways.
Since then I’ve learned a lot from that cute red head… even a few things about cooking.
The good news about food and cooking is that it’s not rocket science. As a recovering aerospace engineer, I feel I can safely make that assertion. For me it has been a wonderful transition to start seeing time spent in the kitchen as recreational alchemy instead of drudgery to avoid hunger. My hope is that we can inspire that transition in a few other people as well.
I, like Audrey, am also a runner, which is why you will see no fear of carbs around here. I am an engineer by day and will likely apply that level of nerdniess around here as well.