When my husband and I first met, cooking was a shared task, but nowadays the responsibility falls mainly to me.
This arrangement made perfect sense when I was at home with babies, but now that I’m back at work, it seems impractical. However, whereas my cookery skills have progressed during the intervening years, his have, shall we say, stagnated.
I have learnt to bake, use spices, source ingredients and try new things. I am far from Heston Blumenthal, but I have evolved, whereas my husband is the kitchen equivalent of Primordial Swamp when compared to my high-functioning 21st century Kitchen Sapien self.
(I am laughing to myself as I type this, picturing his face when he reads my column next week. Luckily Mothering Sunday will have already occurred by the time it is in print, and any cards or presents will have been gratefully received before he can threaten to withhold due to my teasing.)
In a gallant effort to brush up on his skills, he has claimed Saturday nights as Cooking Night. For the record (and the sake of future birthdays, Mothers’ Days etc), he is usually triumphant in his culinary endeavours. However, last Saturday was a different story.
After meticulously researching a recipe (creamed cannellini beans with spinach and lamb steaks), and after spending quite some time in the kitchen with the food processor, my husband presented me with what is best described as Lamb Steak Surprise. The surprise being that there were any lamb steaks, as one had to dig beneath the layer of Green Salt Soup in order to find them.
Even now, days on, he is adamant that no salt was added, and that the recipe called for a runny texture. I had already seen the online photos though, and remain unconvinced. The photos did not, for example, suggest that the meal would require a bowl and spoon.
The consumption of this meal (partial on my part, though my husband plowed on eating his, merely to prove a point of stubborn pride, I feel), led to much merriment on our parts, and the kind of marital laughter that leaves you doubled over, sides aching, and eyes watering.
Good times – which led me to reflect that laughter, in any family, is underestimated. My husband makes me laugh more than anyone else ever has, and only he will know what it means when I end with 5 little words: “Number 7 on the list.”
First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 17th March 2015