Being cool and encouraging works for most things in life. I was reminded recently how wonderful it is that I have a partner who can create meals from basic ingredients. This fell into my lap when we had a friend over for dinner, my man, Sam, cooked a delicious meal. The friend, his friend, was pretty surprised and told me I was lucky to have a partner who cooks.
I clarified, I’m not lucky, I’m smart. The first time Sam cooked for me was our second date. He took a recipe out of his college student cookbook for beginners, and made a slow cooker stew. I felt it was great. He was disappointed with it. He had gone with the idea to add broccoli and, yes, it slightly over powered the dish. Still, it was far from inedible, and more importantly, he cooked it just. for. me. Pay attention non-cookers, this isn’t simply to make your partner happy, because believe me, you learn to cook something your mate likes and you’ll be thrilled too. Wink wink, nudge nudge, know-whattamean, know-whattamean?
Years later, he has a handful of specialties that delight guests and family alike. Why? Because while he’s been trying and learning, I’ve been there saying, yes, you could make that. I’ve also given him the most powerful of tools, full control of the kitchen. Yes folks, you’re going to have to cede control of the kitchen to someone else. Harder still, you’ll probably have to stay within view, no running off to hide, because chances are the beginner cook has no idea where you stash certain tools and staple dry goods. You could have been storing canned tomatoes in the same place since you two met, most likely next to the cereal boxes they’ve been reaching for every morning for the past ten years, … they’ll still ask, “Honey, where is the tomato sauce?”
Keep a sense of humor, be blind to the mess and don’t worry, it won’t last forever. At some point they’ll get comfortable enough for you to absent yourself, and you should absent yourself. Go to the library, visit a friend, get a pedicure, anything fun, and turn off your phone. When you arrive back home at the appointed time; smile, taste, encourage and encourage some more. He or she tried and that’s what counts. Before you know it, you’ll have someone who is a capable cook, and that is priceless. Remember, encouragement goes with everything, and everyone, not just cooking.