This Thursday, Nov. 5, is National Men Make Dinner Day. I know, who knew?
Who cooks dinner in your house usually? In most homes, the wife is the one who shops for groceries and prepares the meals or is at least responsible for making sure her people eat — whether dinner is pre-packaged chicken nuggets, boxed macaroni and cheese, or something ordered and delivered.
Still, an increasing number of men are cooking dinner more frequently.
As readers know, I love to cook and especially since our children are no longer little ones, (and only one is at home), the dinner hour is almost always a peaceful one.
Of course, back in the day, when our four children were young and had what felt like a million activities every day, dinner time was a challenge to say the least.
As with most homes, I was the one who prepared dinner. I’m sure there were times when Paul cooked dinner, but honestly, I don’t remember those nights. Likely I was ill or busy with a sick child, but it didn’t happen often.
Our history of dinner at home has a humorous beginning. After Paul and I had been dating a few weeks, he invited me to come to his apartment with the offer to cook dinner. I was stunned.
At the time, I didn’t know any men in their early 20s who cooked dinner, unless it was guys who grilled out hamburgers while drinking beer.
Dinner at home for most guys I knew consisted of having a pizza delivered.
Arriving at his apartment that night, my surprise continued when I saw what was on the menu. There was chicken marinating in ginger, garlic and soy sauce, which he then grilled on a little hibachi grill out on the patio.
I remember it was the best chicken I had ever had, or maybe that was because I was already smitten. He also made Japanese rice and some sort of green vegetable. It was an impressive meal.
We talked about his food memories from his years in Japan with the Air Force and how that was where he learned to properly cook rice and his marinated chicken recipe.
At just 23, I already loved food, was an avid cook, and loved to try anything new. It is fair to say, I felt as if I had just hit the jackpot.
A good-looking, smart, nice guy (with a real job who didn’t live with his mother), and a good cook.
We continued dating and I cooked for Paul many times during our courtship. The next time he invited me to come over for dinner, I eagerly accepted, wondering what culinary delight he was going to surprise me with.
Guess what was on the menu? That’s right, chicken marinated with ginger, garlic and soy sauce. And Japanese rice. I chuckled to myself.
Turns out his cooking skills were pretty limited, but that didn’t deter me. He was still good looking, smart and nice.
Eventually, we named this dish “Paul’s Chicken,” and I still have a soft spot for it, although I have changed it over the years to make it a bit more sophisticated.
Paul’s culinary skills have improved greatly since then. His favorite thing to cook, like most men, is any type of meat on the grill or on the smoker.
He loves experimenting with various homemade rubs, brining mixtures and different types of wood for smoking. I love to make different sauces for his creations, as well as side dishes to accompany said meat.
Although I still do probably 90 percent of the cooking, Paul’s contribution is welcome and always delicious.
I’m not sure what will be on the menu Thursday, but I’m guessing it will not be Paul’s chicken. More likely it will be a large cut of meat cooked on the smoker or the grill — and I’m sure I will make any side dishes and sauces.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.