Cooking With My Partner
My partner and I love to cook together. Neither of us have any formal culinary training but we really enjoy preparing delicious food and we both love the challenge and satisfaction of trying new recipes and learning new culinary techniques. After many years of being together, one of our favourite date nights is cooking a delicious dinner at home and watching a movie in our living room.
Though we have long enjoyed collaborative harmony in the kitchen, I must confess that such kitchen nirvana was not always the case—especially when we began embarking upon new, more intense and challenging culinary projects. The first raviolis were not happy ones. And there was more rice on the kitchen floor than there was in all the cabbage rolls combined (I told you we should have cut the spines out of those cabbage leaves!). Our different styles quickly became evident: one of us likes to stick to the recipe on the first go, the other likes to improvise. Our visions, even our ways of chopping an onion, varied. “Creative differences” we called them–each secretly believing our way to be superior.
The Secret to Kitchen Nirvana:
The Kitchen Contract
It seems that the old adage, “Too many cooks spoil the broth” has a lot of truth in it. At least it was true for us. With all those knives and other sharp kitchen gadgets around, it seems a prudent thing to ensure harmony in the kitchen. Happily, we came upon a solution early on. It was simple but brilliant: like any well-run kitchen, we needed a hierarchy. Our kitchen roles are now contractually delineated as follows:
“Whosoever initiates a culinary project shall hereby be designated the Chef (a.k.a. “The Kitchen God”) for the duration of said culinary project.
Upon the Chef being so designated, the other party shall forthwith become the Sous-Chef (a.k.a. “The Kitchen Slave”) and shall voluntarily and happily relinquish all authority – real or imagined – to the Chef.
It is hereby understood by both parties that the Chef shall reign supreme, maintaining all technical, procedural, and creative control over said culinary project.
The Chef may or may not choose to seek the opinion of the Sous-Chef. Furthermore, it is hereby understood by both parties that the Chef may totally disregard any such opinion, solicited or unsolicited, with no repercussions whatsoever.
The Sous-Chef shall happily and explicitly follow any and all of the Chef’s instructions; and it shall go without saying that, as the Chef’s creative culinary masterpiece unfolds, the Sous-Chef shall cheerfully and meticulously clean up after the Chef.”
We’ve enjoyed utter harmony in the kitchen since we both signed the contract. Surprisingly, we find that we each enjoy both roles equally.