My husband is making chili today. This was decided at the grocery store, as we strolled through the vegetable section.
Husband: Shall I make chili?
We bought beans and ground beef and tomatoes and a chili and headed on our merry way home, where the cooking began the way cooking always begins with my husband.
Do you ever have those moments where you just want to smack your hand through your forehead so hard it comes out the other side? Most people buy ingredients after deciding on a recipe, but I have given up persuading my husband to use this technique. After four years, I know when I’m beat.
So we get home and he spends fifteen minutes searching for the chili recipe book (located in the kitchen, on the shelf specifically set aside for cookbooks), and then the next hour musing through it.
Him: Do you want Texas Two Fingers Chili? It has two cups of tequila in it.
Me: I don’t think we have two cups of tequila.
Him: How about a Jamie Oliver Chili Con Carne?
Me: Chili is not British. Tequila it is.
He begins cooking at once, and the first thing my husband does, doesn’t matter if he’s making cake or chili, is go for the onions.
Him: You said we have half an onion already in the fridge.
Me: Top shelf.
Him: I can’t find it. [Four minutes pass.] It’s not here.
Me: Literally it is right here. On the top shelf of the fridge. Where were you looking. Also, this recipe doesn’t call for onions.
Him: *merrily chopping onions*
I go back to my writing, and the next thing I know he’s thrusting the cookbook at me, requesting I read off ingredient amounts to him as he measures them out. Sure, fine, whatever, I’m reading them aloud, and lo and behold we come to the tequila.
Turns out we don’t have two cups of tequila, we have exactly one. One lonely cup of tequila.
Him: What can we substitute? Root-beer flavor okay you think?
Before I can answer, he’s on the computer telling me that tequila is used to absorb grease and import a floral scent, and that we could use rosewater instead, which would be great if we had rosewater, but we don’t. That’s the point where I sort of tune out to type.
Him: Do we have cup measures?
Me: How long have you lived in this apartment. Did you just put my elder flower liquor in?
Him: Relax, it’s the cheapo rum.
So much for research. Just when I think it’s safe to go back to writing, he’s calling for the next part of the recipe to be read to him.
Me: “Simmer for an hour and a half.” You didn’t read this recipe beforehand, did you.
Him: I know how to make chili.
Which is not an answer, but does, in fact, answer the question nicely.
At this point, I’m not really sure why I’m still holding a cookbook. My eyes are watering in the living room from the fumes emitting from the kitchen as my husband proceeds to use every pot in the house on his way to culinary achievement.
Probably the most annoying thing is that this recipe is going to be just fine. I mean, it’s chili, it’s hard to mess up, but he does this haphazard cooking every single time, and it hasn’t failed yet. In fact, it’s when he follows the recipes to the letter that things come out weird.
A final comment from the kitchen seals our fate.
Him: Oh, hey, so I’m making the following list of substitutions…
Whatever my blood pressure does in the meantime, however many dishes we have to wash after, hey, at least the chili’s going to be good.
Oh, and we need more tequila.