When the Cook is Away

Let’s face it as a professional foodie I do all of the cooking at my house. My husband Scott is my assistant – okay – he’s more like a helper who needs lots of directions. But I love it when he comes into the kitchen and we cook together, even though there’s more water on floor than when I cook alone – it’s way more fun to chop, dice, laugh and make a meal together.

When I met him many many moons ago – the guy didn’t know a saucepan from a microplane, so all in all he’s come a long way in the culinary arts department.

Pre-Mairlyn in the healthy eating department? He was single handedly responsible for keeping all fast food restaurants in a 6 km radius from his house in business.

Enter me and my cooking and eating life style and his eating habits have gone from Hell in a Handbag to a Stanley Cup Winner!

Before you go thinking she is making the poor guy eat weird hippy food – he loves to eats fruits and veggies, beans, chicken, fish, whole grains, nuts, chocolate – you name a healthy food and the guy eats it with relish.

Until I go away on a business trip – and then it’s back to his days as a bachelor. Mostly just eating whatever hasn’t gone bad in the fridge. Once when I was away all he ate for three days was cereal.

I was away on a ten day trip so I thought it would be fun to call him every night and ask him what he had for dinner:

Here’s what he had the first night:

  • A half bag of frozen peas and corn (I have no memory of ever buying a mixed bag of frozen peas and corn so he either mixed the two together or he found something really old in the freezer!) He did stir fry them which is sort of gourmet.
  • One large  spoonful of peanut butter
  •  Several handfuls of pistachios and mixed nuts.
  • And a large glass of orange juice

If he was a vegan he would be getting some pretty good points on this somewhat odd and unorthodox dinner. The Vitamin C from the orange juice helps to absorb the iron in the nuts which are considered a protein source especially if you are a vegan. The peas and corn are veggies and because he ate half a bag he probably had at least 6 servings of fruits and veggies according to Canada’s Food Guide. And the peas contain DNA protecting folate! This crazy dinner was actually not bad at all. This is going to be a really interesting ten day experiment! Can’t wait to hear what he makes tomorrow night!

Day 2

Me: So what did you have for dinner tonight?

Scott: Pasta.

Me: With what?

Scott: Pasta.

Me: You had pasta with pasta?

Scott: Yeah.

Me: You had pasta with nothing on it?

Scott: No, I put some Frank’s Red Hot Wings Sauce on it.

Me: (laughing or was it crying?) And that was it?

Scott: Well I had some stir fried peas and corn about an hour ago.

Me: Isn’t that what you had last night?

Scott: I like it.

Me: And that’s all you ate?

Scott: Well I had some peanut butter on a rice cake, a couple of glasses of OJ, and some tomatoes out of the garden. And is the Swiss chard supposed to be lying on its side?

Me: What?

Scott: Those leafy things beside the tomatoes – they’re looking really dead.

Me: They’re beets.

Okay then…..that went well.

So far he’s eaten stuff in the house. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to do a big grocery shop before I left. There isn’t any fresh fruit or veggies in the house. There is milk, tons of frozen fruit, lots of canned beans, nuts, peanut butter, pasta, cereal, and crackers, but no protein kicking around as in poultry, fish or meat.  My prediction? He will eat all of the pasta, crackers, cereal, and peanut butter before he goes grocery shopping. Thanks goodness there are tomatoes growing by the gate! At least he’ll get some lycopene!

Day 3 and 4

My husband plays hockey in an Adult Men’s League on Wednesday and Thursday nights during the summer.  Even though his knees prevent him from stopping anywhere close to the puck he loves playing his favourite sport and in your late fifties loving what you do should be your modus operandi

Dinners on hockey nights are usually pasta and veggies with a small amount of protein and a glass of milk. This week with me away and left to his own devices his meals are taking a slow slide into hell.

Friday afternoon on the phone:

Scott: Hi!

Me: Hi Honey! How’s the heat?

Scott: Stinking hot!

Me: How’s my garden? Anything dead?

Scott: Nope….

Me: (slightly suspicious) great…..What you have for dinner before hockey?

Scott: Pasta.

Me: Pasta with what?

Scott: Franks Red Hot Sauce. (He had that last night for anyone keeping track)

Me: Again?

Scott: Yes.

Me: No veggies?

Scott: Not so much. I had a cracker with peanut butter and some wings at the Bar.

Me: Did you have any fruit?

Scott: I ran out of juice.

Me: And what did you have on Thursday night?

Scott: A cracker.

Me: A cracker? As in one cracker?

Scott: That was all that was left.

Me: There is this place that you go to that has food in it – it’s called a grocery store?

Scott: I was too busy watering the garden.

Me: You have to go and buy some food.

Scott: It’s okay I am going to Ed’s cottage for the weekend. (Ed is a carnivore – I am sure there will lots of meat)

So, as predicted the supplies are swindling and my hunter gatherer isn’t hunting or gathering. Hope he finds the bag of frozen mango in the downstairs deep freeze soon.

Day 5 onward…

I am happy to give a big shout out to what he ate on Monday. He picked the rest of the green beans in the backyard and then stir fried them. He even got all creative and added in some freshly picked grape tomatoes. The only problem was the green beans he picked were really old.  I was actually letting them age on the vine so I could use the seeds next year, anyway – he did say they were sort of tough….and insert me screaming *HE ATE MY SEEDS*

Which brings us to – all he’s had is crackers and peanut butter, oh, and a glass of milk.

Throughout the past nine days (there was the weekend reprieve at our friend’s cottage and Michale’s fabulous cooking) he has dabbled in the veggie department but aside from juice there has been nary a piece of fruit in the mix.  And all I can say is, “What the?” After eighteen years of eating with me, cooking with me, and being a part of three healthy cookbook testings with me, you’d think the guy’d been brainwashed in the health department to want to eat something that had a colour to it.

But no.

Not even my salad loving husband has ventured out past the pantry to eat a big mix of fruits and veggies.

And why?

Why didn’t he eat like we eat when I’m there?

I have no clue.

His eating habits went gone back to hell in a handbag in less than a couple of days.

Is it eating alone that contributes to lousy eating habits? Have I have spoiled him beyond belief with all the fabulous food I make? (Insert a big pat on own back here) Or is it gender based? Women leave – men eat crap.

I don’t know, I have many theories, but no answers. Anybody? What do you think?

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