The Importance of a Well-Stocked Fridge

woman cookingBefore we get started, don’t forget to click here to cast your vote for Philadelphia’s Most Valuable Blogger (me, obviously; where else can you go for erudite discussions on the merits of puff paint, as applied to recreational hockey uniforms?)

Now, getting down to business: if it seems like going on and on about my weekend in Pittsburgh with Date #7 without actually saying anything, it’s because I am.

Intentionally.

Would you believe me if I told you we’ve not spoken since we said goodbye last Monday?  It’s true: I called him from the highway to thank him for having me (as I’d forgotten to do so during the whole “departure is such sweet sorrow” portion of the afternoon’s proceedings) and asked if he’d like me to call him when I got home.

“Sure,” he said.  So I did, and after ascertaining that I’d made it back safely to Philadelphia, he said, “Well I should let you go.  I’m sure you want to unpack.”

“Of course,” I replied.  (What Date #7 doesn’t know is that I never unpack.  I still have my beach bag sitting on my floor from two weeks ago and I suspect it will at least until two months until I get around to doing anything about it.)

“I do want to talk to you,” I informed him before hanging up.  “Not in an ominous ‘we need to talk sort of way’ but it would be good I think.”

“It would” he replied.

And that was that.  It’s been a week now.

I’ll offer my thoughts on all of this tomorrow but before we get to the post-trip analysis (you had to know it was coming at some point) I suppose I should say a bit about the end of our visit.

On Monday afternoon, it finally dawns on me: if I want a proper, home cooked-meal before I go, I’m going to have to orchestrate it myself.

Now “orchestrate” might seem like an odd verb choice—surely “cook” would have been sufficient—but here’s where you have to remember that I’ve spent the past 48 hours in the company of a thirty-something year old bachelor.

Maintaining a well stocked fridge isn’t terribly high up on his list of priorities so when I suggest we cook a nice lunch before I leave, what I really mean is, “Can we please stop at the grocery store on the way back so that I can buy some proper food to prepare?”

So far, my meals at Date #7’s house have consisted of a hot pocket for dinner, eggs for breakfast and Entenmanns’s cookies for everything else.  (I was also given the choice of Rice Crispies but I’m more a Kashi whole-grain cardboard and almond milk kind of gal.)

I imagined we’d prepare a nice meal together at some point during the weekend (complete with wine, the John Legend station on Pandora and numerous breaks to make out in Date #7’s kitchen) but this never happened.

“Do you have any spices?” I ask.

I’m power walking through the grocery store, hell bent on recreating my grandmother’s pastelillos recipe for some reason (probably because we drove by a Taco Bell earlier, and I’m starving), and Date #7 is strolling behind me, looking rather bewildered.

“Not really, no,” he muses.  “Just salt and pepper.”

There’s a shock.  I grab some Adobo (the spice of choice for lazy cooks) and head for the poultry section.

“Do you eat ground turkey?” I ask.

“Not really, no.”

There’s another shock.

“It tastes just like ground beef” I inform him, “except it’s healthier.”

He shrugs and tells me he’ll try it.

By the time we’ve returned to his apartment, I’ve totally taken charge.  I tell him exactly what I want: John Legend on Pandora and diced onions, please.  Then I make the mistake of asking him if he’d like to help with the next step (we’re making empanadas essentially, and the makeshift tortillas need to be stuffed) and he says “no.”

(I’ve since been told that when it comes to men in the kitchen, one does not “ask” them to help.  One simple “tells” them to help.  But I was trying to be nice.  And trying to impress Date #7 with my grandmother’s pastelillos recipe because I’m determined to give this relationship—or lack thereof—my very best shot, even if I’m beginning to doubt that we’re destined for anything particularly Jane Austen.)

I know, without asking, that there is no way he has a rolling pin.  So I improvise (having been an impoverished grad student in a foreign country at one point in time, I’m quite good at improvising) and use the jar of salsa I bought.

“I think I have one of those things…” Date #7 muses.

“A rolling pin?” I ask, trying to keep  a straight face.

“Yes.”

He starts digging through his drawers, shuffling spoons and forks aside as if a rolling pin could be hiding beneath his utensils, and comes up empty handed, looking rather bewildered once again.

“Its fine,” I assure him.  “This will work.”

Twenty minutes later, Date #7 is lying on the couch and I’m frying pastelillos on his stove by myself wondering what the hell happened to my little duel-cooking fantasy.  This is so not how I’d envisioned the afternoon going and it occurs to me that if I’m not careful, I’m going to set a terrible precedent in which I buy the groceries, I do the cooking and I clean the dishes.

In his defense, Date #7 is extremely complimentary of my efforts and tells me not to worry about the dishes.  Plus he did carry the groceries, and fry the eggs for our breakfast on Saturday morning and take me to see Fallingwater…

He’s also done all the driving for the past three days.

It’s not much, but it’s enough, especially as John Mayer’s just come on the radio.  I’m a sucker for Gravity.

“Dance with me,” I whisper, resolving to forget all the weekend’s awkward moments and concentrate on enjoying our last few minutes together.

He complies, and we sway, 8th-grade dance style, in his living room for the next three and half minutes.

“This sucks,” he murmurs into my hair.

“Hmmm?”

“This sucks.  I don’t want you to leave.”

The entire exchange smacks of too little, too late but then something unexpected happens: my eyes well up and for the life of me, I can’t quite understand why.

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19 thoughts on “The Importance of a Well-Stocked Fridge

  1. HHhmmmm, not sure what to make of this.

    I know its been a while (make that, a loooong while) since I had a “third” date, but if memory serves me I would be trying to impress the girl, even knowing full well that my culinary expertise is severely lacking. If a girl had come to visit me, in my apartment, for the weekend and wanted to cook together, you can bet I would have been in the kitchen right next to her helping her. I can’t vouch for how good dinner would have been with my help, but she would have had plenty of help and wine.

  2. I have never been a cooker or a baker. I’ve been lucky enough to find my better half and he knows how to cook, but also knows how to bake cookies from scratch… without a recipe! My mom never cooked either so I’ve been ‘handicapped’ and so he always makes me food. When we cook together I get very… territorial and paranoid he’s watching me struggle, so I kind of chase him out of there. But, our first cooking experience where I made him omlette’s he stayed in the kitchen and helped me out, even though I was a total mess.If anything, they should stay in the kitchen with you to help you find everything in there. I must say, your pastelillo’s sound totally delish!

  3. How depressing! When I read “So far, my meals at Date #7’s house have consisted of a hot pocket for dinner, eggs for breakfast and Entenmanns’s cookies for everything else” I cried a little… I would think he would at least try to impress you– if nothing else, taking you out for a delicious dinner or something to redeem the fact that he has no “edible” food in his apartment.
    A romantic dual-cooking experience is on the top of my fantasy list as well… hopefully it’ll happen for you soon!

  4. How about this lil diddy came up on my fb post from a guy who hosts a videoshow on relationships… He put this quite plainly: Dedan Tolbert
    Why would you ask why a man hasn’t called you after a week? It shouldn’t matter…Anyone who hasn’t called you in a week clearly doesn’t want you. Stop being pressed and just move on with your life. Happiness starts with having a high level of self esteem. Never settle for less than you want or deserve…DedanTolbert.com

  5. I’m sad, Kat, reading your post. But I learned something along the way about food and relationships–this may also be too little too late, but anyway–

    Personally, I am SUPER-territorial when it comes to food. It probably comes from when Mom used to divide the shrimp up equally before she poured on the lobster sauce. And save the last shrimp for herself. But whatever.

    Hub and I had this conversation pretty immediately in our relationship. I told him I was sorry, but that was how it was. I hated the concept of sitting down to dinner together–I felt it was so forced. He listened, he understood, and as a result it’s not even an issue anymore.

    There’s a LOT of pressure around food and atmosphere and stuff in early parts of relationships, I think. It really has to do with shifting around fundamental parts of YOU to fit him in, or vice versa.

    That having been said, he should have PACKED his place with goodies for you!!! Geez, what IS his problem???
    :) love ya kat!

  6. I was -way- under the weather with some bug and my girlfriend came over to cook dinner. (My kitchen is nice and clean… not because I go to effort to keep it that way, but because I never use it. The EPA has forbidden me from attempting to cook.)

    Anyway… I could barely stand up and I was holding myself up by alternating hanging off her shoulder and the counter. “Go lie down”– I couldn’t I would have felt too guilty.

    But I share #7’s bachelor’s refrigerator: I have aproximately 8 bottles of wine, a few bottles of Mountain Dew [personal caffiene vice], a couple of each of the popular sodas for guests… a ton of water… and, ummmm… I think that’s it. The freezer has an “emergency pizza” for those times I really don’t know what else to do, so don’t hold that against him too much.

    Parting words: You know phones work both ways and this is the 21st century. You could call (or perish the thought, text) him rather than waiting on the edge of your keyboard.

    • >>>I have aproximately 8 bottles of wine, a few bottles of Mountain Dew [personal caffiene vice], a couple of each of the popular sodas for guests… a ton of water… and, ummmm… I think that’s it. The freezer has an “emergency pizza” for those times I really don’t know what else to do<<<

      Don't sell yourself short– THIS IS FANTASTIC! I'm not asking for an 8-course meal. I would have been THRILLED with wine and an "emergency pizza."

  7. How much of a role do you think your blog is playing? You are very creative and interesting, but part of me wonders if how open you are on here is getting to him. I don’t know. Does it take away the mystery? Guys want to wonder if you like them, too. It’s all part of the butterflies. So maybe your spending so much time recapping and agonizing is just showing him he’s got you – he doesn’t really have to try.
    Not to say I don’t enjoy reading it — but I feel this constant need to remind you to be careful with what you say on the blog. It really has come back and bit me and I wouldn’t want the same for you :)

    • Now I know why you say so precious little about “Chef”… I hadn’t thought about how my blog might be making him feel, except for worrying that it might make him feel uncomfortable (and he’s assured me it hasn’t). But you’re right: I DO feel like he’s not even bothering to make an effort at this point, and I’ve been sitting here wondering what the heck I did or said to give him the impression that he’s “got me” and now I know… ugh! Open mouth, insert foot…

      • Kat,
        I probably asked Chef a million times if it bothered him when I wrote about him and he always said no. But then I would notice he would bring up things I wrote in the blog as things that bothered him (but I don’t know if he realized these were things that he read in the blog that bothered him, not things I actually did/said). And although he never said it made him lose interest, I get this feeling that so much of the early parts of the relationship is the “chemistry,” the “butterflies.” And it’s hard to achieve that feeling if you know EXACTLY what the other person is feeling – if they are an open book. This is how I feel anyway. So — this is what I’ve decided. I’m in a relationship with Chef and if we are trying to make it work, I can’t chronicle every single situation. I can’t always mention when we fight, and how I felt about the fight, or when we had the most amazing time together. I’ll mention the big things, absolutely, but I can’t document the whole relationship. Chef told me one time, when I was blogging about him more, “You tell your family and your friends everything about us. You write about it in your blog. There’s nothing that just us… nothing only you and I share.” And he was right. And there’s something special about just sharing things with one person…. those little relationship secrets that bond people together.

        Also, if I’m documenting the entire relationship on my blog, it does a lot of things that aren’t great to me. A: It makes me overanalyze, and when I overanalyze, I get negative. I analyze all the flaws. That’s not fair to him. B: It makes me open myself up to too much criticism. I never want to be in the situation where my readers are telling me whether Chef is a good guy or not. Whether I should be with him or not. I have to make these decisions on my own, and I never want to put my relationship with Chef up for an informal vote on the blog – a vote through comments. Especially when I know my readers only get part of the story and how can they understand the untangibles – like I love him and he makes me laugh? And, C: It’s just not fair to him. His friends read my blog. Our mutual friends read the blog. And if I meet his family, the blog being something that is really important to me, they’ll probably check it out too. I don’t want to embarass him.

        Frankly – this position on blogging about Chef is ever evolving. I am definitely more closed off than I used to be, but I still write about him here and there. I think sometimes he wishes I wrote about him more! (I think it makes him feel sorta special.) I’m really still trying to figure it out myself. I just don’t ever want the blog to get in the way of my actual life.

        Sorry to go off on a tangent…. Just thought I’d share my experiences in case it’s possible it can help you :)

        • Reading over my post and all my spelling/grammar mistakes…sorry :) To clarify two of the many:
          There’s nothing that just us ….meant to say… There’s nothing that’s just us
          And untangibles… obviously meant intangibles…:)

  8. Pingback: The Perfect Victorian Housewife | After I Quit My Day Job

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