In my experience, men do not take criticism easily – whether it’s constructive or just plain mean – the latter being particularly relevant to the long marriage.
Which is why I have had to tread very carefully this week, while the old man had taken up the mantle of domestic slavery in our house, as I pull a six-day week of work. The deal in our house is that if I work outside of the home, he cooks – a domestic chore he despises. He is not Jamie Oliver, he has no confidence or intuition in the kitchen and when he gets in a panic, he has to be reminded constantly about what to do. I can tell that he is already buckling under the strain.
In hindsight, to criticize a man’s cooking is either a brave or incredibly stupid thing to do, for it ensures that:
1. It is unlikely to happen again.
2. The chances of finding a pubic hair in your food increase tenfold.
3. The next time he is in the kitchen, he won’t just use two-thirds of the saucepans, he will use EVERY frigging saucepan, every casserole dish, and utensil you own – even that fugly vintage Pyrex dish at the back of the cupboard that you inherited from his mother.
However – disclaimer here – I should point out, that in spite of these risks, poking your nose in where it’s not wanted, may improve your chances of survival.
Last night, I came downstairs from my shower, starving, and in search of my dinner. As you can imagine, it was on the tip of my tongue to ask “what’s for dinner?” in that caveman grunt that most men have perfected, and yet I managed to control myself. Indeed, when I peered into the kitchen, I was heartened to see two beautiful salad accompaniments laid out on two plates on the bench top and my optimism grew. However, there was no sign of the salmon.
So, with the diplomacy of Alan Jones, I pointed out to the old man the benefits to time management of cooking the protein whilst preparing the salads. My comment was met by an iciness more penetrative than any wind to blow through Westeros in all eight seasons of GOT, and the dog and I scuttled away from the kitchen pronto, to the sound of crashing pans in our ears.
I decided not to mention that lentils should be drained and rinsed before they go onto the salad, and ate what looked like frogspawn on my lettuce with gusto.
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