The other night I had a situation (personal meltdown) during dinner time, which led to me howling at my family and screaming something along the lines of “I am the boss of the kitchen! I am the boss and you’re not!” Sound familiar? Let me explain.
Normally I don’t mind cooking a meal while friends and relations hang out around me. If I’m making breakfast then I like the company of someone reading the newspaper or playing with Legos nearby. If it’s a dinner party and I’m tossing the salad or arranging the cheese plate (preparations that require minimal concentration) then I love to have a friend nearby to chat with and refill my wine glass. We even have a bench in the kitchen under a large bay window where many a dinner guest have sat and gossiped or thumbed through cookbooks while dinner was underway.
On rare occasions I might ask a guest to help me out, but in all honesty I’d rather do things myself unless it’s something simple like slicing the bread or the guest is a cooking ace and I can lean on them a bit. A sub-category of this is allowing your tiny spawn to assist with the cooking. Despite the trend in handing your toddler a chef’s knife and an apron, I’m not a fan of cooking dinner alongside a child. In fact it completely stresses me out. The only exception I make is pancakes for Sunday breakfast, when there is no real time constraint so some learning and sharing can happen: The first batch of pancakes is always the worst; don’t over mix the batter; don’t add the blueberries until you see bubbles, the chef always gets the last (best) pancake, etc.
But there is one other kitchen scenario that makes me completely unhinged and that’s when certain people (my husband) decide to insert themselves into the frazzled ballet that is dinner preparation. Specifically unloading the dishwasher, getting ice, loading the dishwasher, filling a drink, basically getting in my way.
Maybe your kitchen is designed for multi-person/multi-tasking, but mine is not. And when it’s 7:10 on a Tuesday night, the pasta water is at a raging boil, and my way to the olive oil or colander is blocked by someone sorting the cutlery drawer, I freak out and say something along the lines of “why are you doing that NOW!”
The next thing that happens is that this certain person tells me to “chill out” and “you’re not the boss of the kitchen…” And that’s when I smote him.
Because actually I AM the boss of the kitchen. I think whomever makes over 90% of the meals gets to declare themselves Supreme Dictator of the kitchen—am I right? I’m right.
So who are you in this scenario? Hapless organizer of cutlery who gets verbally reprimanded? Or the family cook who turns into Vladmir Putin when someone dares to challenge your far-reaching authority?