“.. and the helpers usually take care of the dinners*.” Wait, what? Like, every day?
Yes, every day.
And no matter how often I’m assured that he’s not picky, it doesn’t feel right to make him experience my idea of dinners (veggies, bread, salad, pancakes, omelet?) for a month. So I did some research and asked for help. Easy recipes, preferably one pan ones (the less you have to watch, the less you can screw up). Come on, even without active teaching from my chef du cuisine father, I must have had picked up on some talents and tricks in the kitchen.
Luckily, the kitchen comes with about every tool, spice, herb and product you can think of. And a load I never thought of (“Is that Chinese? Russian? I think it’s ..tea?”). And the owner of the kitchen isn’t set on his usual groceries either, so I can ask for all kinds of things.
All that still doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous for my first night of cooking. I can only remember that it involved a rice cooker, a sauce that turned into a paste and cabbage. We ate a lot of cabbage here.
Like with about anything, practice makes comfortable. While slowly moving from “as little fuck up chance as possible” to “maybe try something new” I started paging through recipe books. Paging through them with the intent of using them. Last night I even set out all the necessary ingredients before starting on my onion & squash soup. Boy, was the extra time spent (cleaning squash takes some work) worth it.
That doesn’t (of course not) mean I’m a star every night. My curry sauce was a too hot mistake that resembled cat vomit. My stir fry was partly black because the pan got hot much faster than expected. And Damita’s first experience with Brussels Sprouts was probably very, very, chewy.
But then there’s the filled pastry (that looked beautiful), the enormous pan of overnight stew, the kale stir fry, the filled bell peppers, Jeroen’s omelet and the Dutch pancakes. I made savoury bread pudding, and customized the one from my mother’s recipe. Yes, not having to get into the kitchen at the end of the afternoon has turned into a bit of luxury, but going isn’t a punishment any more either.
*After two weeks Damita admitted that he was used to having/getting lunches as well. It’s a joint venture now.