• author
    • Carolyn Wyler

      Columnist and C.E.O.
    • August 19, 2013 in Columnists

    Perfectly cubing watermelon stifles the soul

    I’m not actually sure when it happened (I’m not really complaining) but somewhere in the last 8-10 years, my kitchen throne was overtaken by my husband. I have to admit that I often have battles in my head with the two Susans — Miss Suzy homemaker and Ms. Susan B. Anthony — and I am usually left with a gnawing sense that my job, ultimately, is in the kitchen, barefoot and donning a pregnant watermelon belly.

    My husband has always been a fantastic cook, however, and ever since we were first married, he and I often would share in the job of preparing meals as well as the clean up. His meals, much to my mixed emotional dismay, would often end up tasting better than mine. It wasn’t until his recent retirement that I would come home from work to find the old, worn out, familiar cooking pans and appliances replaced with new, higher tech, better quality ones and a fantastic meal, too good for most restaurants, on a plate, waiting and ready for my consumption.

    My world was spinning and I felt a little like Dorothy falling off the fence, thrown about in a whirlwind and landing in a world of odd. I felt a bit dizzy, and began to see strange and unusual things happening.

    But the strange and unusual wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just different. It was an adjustment that I, as well as my husband, needed to make.

    It’s understandable that I would feel a sense of confusion, as I was told all my life that I was, and should be, the Queen of my kitchen. Who did this new Queen think he was, taking over my throne? It only added to the confusion that his meals were just so damn good!

    I still wanted to have some say in the kitchen, however, and I often find myself wandering there now, a bit lost, as I am surrounded by new and unfamiliar gadgets. Floundering at times, I attempt to come up with a quick and easy (as I’m usually a bit tired from my work week), delicious creation that I could proclaim as my own.

    My husband and I both have a bit of a struggle with me doing this, however. He now saw me as an intruder into his territory and always wanted to “help” me by telling me how I should or shouldn’t be doing something. I’m not fan of following “how things are supposed to be done,” although I’m not naïve enough to think that following rules (or a recipe) is always a bad thing and certainly serves a purpose.

    But new ideas, creations and solutions don’t appear out of nowhere. They happen because someone, somewhere, attempts something new or different. I would rather rely on my own creative instincts than follow a recipe, not to mention having to follow the instructions of this unwelcome (at times) new conqueror of my old castle.

    This is where my husband and I tend to differ. He believes in following recipes almost to the T. When cutting up a watermelon, for example, my husband believes it must be cut it up into perfectly square chunks, two inches by two inches, and doing it any other way, for him, is quite impossible. It is the way the recipe books told him to do it and the way it must be done. I like to think outside those cubed boxes. To me, doing it his way is a complete waste of my valuable time, not to mention the squares have no personality of their own, look all the same and are too controlled. When I chop up watermelon, I cut them into all different shapes and sizes, which ultimately makes the watermelon taste so much better (well, at least to me it does).

    My husband and I still struggle a bit with issues of roles and who is the alpha male or the Queen bee, but we are making progress and usually work quite well together. I allow him most of the domain in the kitchen and in return get a warm home-cooked meal when I return from a long day at the office. He allows me to do most of the interior decorating, inside and out, and in turn he gets a less bland, more appetizing looking home than one he might have decorated.

    The other day my husband brought home a watermelon from the store and though it may have killed a bit a few of his masculine controlling ego cells, he asked if I would like to cut it up. I obliged, chopped it into all different sizes and shapes.

    It freed my soul.

    • Sounds exactly like what is happening in my house. Except-My wife follows the recipe while I throw stuff together and I do most of the dishes. My wife is both Alpha fe-male and Queen Bee while I am her slave.

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