I remember stocking the cupboards with my husband's favorite foods just before he redeployed. I purchased all the ingredients to make the yummy casseroles and homemade treats that he enjoys. My husband was going to return to home-cooked heaven. Yes.He.Was.
Since then, I've had little time or inclination to don an apron and play Martha Stewart. I was raised by a mother who knows her way around the kitchen, so I developed a fondness for cooking, but I've become much less fond of the kitchen over the past few years. Time was always the enemy. The grill and microwavable bags were my friends.
Remember my recent whine over holiday travel? While we were stuck at airports and flying across the country, I took a copy of Chef's Magazine with me. I became enamored with all of the fabulous appliances and cooking materials. I remembered how happy it made me to fix those wonderful, home-cooked meals for my husband when he returned. Flipping though the magazine reminded me of that time and sparked a renewed interest in bringing my inner domestic goddess back to life. I decided that I longed to get back in the kitchen and put a little TLC back into our meals. I dogeared pages containing images of new cookware that I intended to purchase and made a silent vow to heat up the kitchen. And did I ever....
My new Chef's cookware arrived and I wasted no time testing it out. I didn't say anything to Mr. Andi about my new attitude. I'm sure he would think it's just a passing fad, but I was determined it wouldn't be. I even made a homemade Tiramisu trifle to carry to a unit function. Mr. Andi was shocked. AWTM - you would have been proud....
A few days later, I made a scrumptious casserole dish. All went well. It was beautifully assembled and placed in the oven. I was upstairs putting laundry away (more domestic stuff) when the smoke alarm went off. I ran downstairs and opened the oven to find and no apparent reason for the alarm to go off. Still, I switched on the vent and the alarm was silenced. Odd.
I went back to the laundry and a few minutes later, the smoke alarm began loudly chipping once again. This time there was smoke. Lots of smoke. This time, the vent (on full throttle) and the ceiling fan did not fix the problem. Max was going crazy, running around like a madman with his ears pinned back. I opened the patio door. It was a balmy 20 degrees outside. And, of course, the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID to see it was Mr. Andi. He always calls on his way home to see if I need anything. I usually say, "no, can't think of anything," but on this occasion, I was thinking that he might need to stop at the fire station, round up some burly firemen and a big water hose.
What's going on there?
Oh, well, um, I'm not really sure. The oven seems to be acting up.
Yes, I'm cooking.
Silence on the other end. I'm sure Mr. Andi thought he had identified the problem.
Well, are you alright?
Yes, but dinner is in jeopardy.
Okay, I'll see you in five.
When my husband arrived, the house smelt like smoke, felt like an igloo, Max had run away and the casserole had been switched from the oven to the microwave.
Later that night, I thought about what sparked this whole "fad." I had pampered Mr. Andi when he returned. Food seemed to be one way to pamper him. But in reality, he ate far better than I did when he was deployed. Sometimes breakfast consisted of make-your-own omelet and sometimes it consisted of eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy. There were choices. Lots of them. He even ate steak and lobster on at least one occasion. If Mr. Andi volunteers for a deployment, I'm sure it will be because he misses the food. In fact, I love to eat. I may just volunteer to go in his place.
So, I got all wrapped up in nostalgia, which led me to actually flip through the pages of a cooking magazine. Which led me to revive my previously-hidden domestic goddess. Which led to the casserole fiasco. Which probably led to permanent damage to Max's ears.
Next time my inner domestic goddess tempts me to bring her out of retirement, I'm going to smack her down. And hard.