Domesticity is not my strong suit. I blame genetics.
Youâ€™ve heard about the failed pudding production experiment. I have set several microwaves and toasters on fire. (Side note: if one sets a toaster oven ablaze with a bag of mini-marshmallows atop the appliance, you will forever after be able to read the nutritional contents of the aforementioned mallows as they will be branded on your extra-toasty toaster oven.)
One of the muppetsâ€™ favorite foods is oatmeal. This is good stuff that they cannot get enough of – mouths wide open before I can refill the spoon. (Ok, who am I kidding – they seem to love all foods, but I digress.) After utilizing some rudimentary mathematical measurement skills, we determined that two oatmeal servings was equal to one-half cup. (The other foods come in single serve jars.) I pulled our measuring cup out and set about preparing dinner.
â€œYou know thatâ€™s for liquid measurements right?â€ Jon queried.
You mean theyâ€™re not the same thing? Apparently stylistic design choices are not the sole reason for liquid measuring cups and the cups for measuring solid foods. Well, weâ€™re never too old to learn something new!
During our Southern California adventure, I asked GrammaJ if I could borrow a measuring cup. She looked at me quizzically as she reminded me that sheâ€™d already given me one. â€œBut I need one for the oatmeal; this one is for water,â€ I replied.
â€œWhatever,â€ she brushed me off. â€œTheyâ€™re the same thing.â€
Granted, this sage advice was proffered by a woman who is infamous for her culinary substitutions. Donâ€™t have the specific spice called for in a recipe? No problem – thereâ€™s sure to be another spice on the rack thatâ€™s the same color and consistency, thatâ€™s what AllSpice is for, right? Casserole calls for cream of chicken soup? Chicken noodle has the same main ingredient, right? Hmmm, no olive oil for the brownies Iâ€™m making. A ha! The babyâ€™s applesauce is easily at the ready.
(To be fair, that applesauce trick does work. And Jon conducted a little experiment while we were gone: those liquid and solid measuring cups are, in fact, pretty much the same thing.)
Overall, the women in my family get around this kitchen aversion by just not cooking. GrammaJ brags that she will cook twice a year – Thanksgiving and Christmas. But now that sheâ€™s handed the hosting reigns over to the next generation, she doesnâ€™t do those holidays anymore. The prime example of our familial edibility ineptitude is AuntJ helping her future mother-in-law prepare a holiday feast.
â€œHow can I help?â€ the eager soon-to-be-wed offered. Her belovedâ€™s mother suggested she could best assist by preparing the mashed potatoes. â€œSure!â€ AuntJ exclaimed. â€œWhereâ€™s the box?â€
The reason the measuring cup inquiries initially came about is because GrammaJ and GrampaStavo recently remodeled the kitchen (so now I donâ€™t know where anything is in my childhood home). A reasonable question here would be why a non-cook would redo the kitchen. â€œWell, if itâ€™s never used, it wonâ€™t get dirty!â€ is GrammaJâ€™s logical response. (Worth mentioning: GrampaStavo is quite the cook, so the kitchen does actually participate in the creation of meals.)
During the recent remodel, all household items were packed up. The iron was lost in the aftermath. â€œOh well,â€ mused GrammaJ. â€œNothingâ€™s going to get ironed. Iâ€™m not buying a new one.â€ Then, over the past weekend, I opened the cabinet below the bathroom sink to grab a hairdryer. Like the Farmer in the Dellâ€™s cheese, the iron stood alone.
â€œMom, I found your iron!â€ I called. I wasnâ€™t expecting a heroâ€™s cheer given my motherâ€™s equal enthusiasm for housework as for cooking, but I certainly wasnâ€™t prepared for her response.
â€œI know. I put it there. That way Iâ€™ll remember where it is now.â€
Iâ€™m sorry? You put it there? On purpose?
I regaled G.G. with this amusing quirk of my motherâ€™s during our drive down to the beach. She chuckled, mentioning that she has never been a big fan of ironing either. Perhaps that is because her iron does not have any steaming capabilities – to press a garment, one needs to iron over the item with a damp cloth.
I bet youâ€™re wondering, â€œDo they even make irons without steaming options these days?â€ The answer to that would be a resounding, â€œNo.â€ G.G.â€™s iron was a wedding gift. In 1949. She still has the same one. Why would you need to replace an appliance that never gets used. â€œWrinkled or wash-and-wear,â€ G.G. proudly announced.
I understand the thought process. Years ago, before we were married, Jon and I had a â€œcrucial conversationâ€ about household chores – I wasnâ€™t pulling my fair share. I couldnâ€™t really argue this…I donâ€™t do bathrooms. But I was willing to make an effort to equally distribute the chores.
I hired a housekeeper.
Given my new status as housewife, this familial history could present a problem.