Relationships, like cooking, require practice, effort, and creativity. Cooking for someone you love needs just a little bit extra of all three.
You see, while my husband and I were dating, we bonded over the desire to eat fresh, local food because it was, and is, important for our health. We both received a CSA box (see this post for my CSA journey) and valued supporting local food businesses. I soon discovered that we both had different ideas about how to cook those foods and how they tasted.
I am a shameless lover of green food, craving the ironic crunch of raw kale, full leaf spinach, and broccoli. The sweetness of CSA carrots is a delightful reminder of how good food is supposed to taste. I need and want little more than raw or lightly cooked fruits and veggies. I actually like the taste and texture of (almost) every piece of produce I receive.
The husband has different sentiments. Despite their nutritional value, he finds that most vegetables taste like dirt. Therefore, the ideal form of vegetable preparation includes robust flavors and seasonings and some sort of flavorful protein; bacon is the absolute best.
These differences weren’t quite so apparent when we lived apart. Now that we’re married, cooking requires more effort and creativity. By making the effort to understand his food wants, and by practicing creative collaboration in our cooking, we have built a good food – and relationship – foundation. This is how it happened.
For the first month or two, I prepared meals that I liked, not thinking too much about how he might be different than me. After all, there were so many “we both” things. But it wasn’t long before his true feelings bubbled up to the surface in a series of conversations. He was eating the food because it was good for him but for the most part, he didn’t like it. I was crushed.
This is where those three things (practice, effort, and creativity) come in.
Our discussions served as a wake up call for our kitchen. Together we put in the effort to understand our individual food preferences. We experimented with different recipes and combinations. Sometimes it went well, and sometimes it flopped. Epically.
Food is an ongoing conversation in our marriage. Communication is important because like building a strong relationship, cooking together can be a challenging exercise that requires attentiveness and collaboration. When we cook together we occasionally stumble upon a mutual favorite. I have decided to share two of these favorites: one today, and one next week.
- 2 Sweet Potatoes
- 1 Medium/large Yellow Onion
- Bunch Kale
- 2 eggs
- Wrap the sweet potatoes in tinfoil and bake in the oven (350 for 40-60 minutes). Feel free to put on some music, make a cocktail (try the grapefruit and honey cocktail from last week!) and start singing along.
- While the potatoes are baking, and the tunes are rocking, chop the onions into medium pieces. Place those pieces in a pan (I prefer cast iron for this recipe) and cook in oil on low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Wash and then chop your kale into bite-sized pieces.
- Once the onions have begun to caramelize and brown, almost to your desired level, place the kale on top. The kale will begin to wilt. Once wilted, give one good stir and remove from the heat.
- Prepare the eggs in your favorite way (fried, sunny-side-up, scrambled, etc.).
- Top the potato with the onion and kale, and your egg. Grate some of your favorite cheese and voila! Not only did you unwind a little with some great music and beverage, but with little energy you made a delicious and easy dinner for two.
- Note: Feel free to add in additional meat (sausage or bacon) or other on-hand ingredients (mushrooms, fresh herbs, leftover quinoa) whatever sounds good!