Cooking With Peppers

pimientoMy wife hates peppers about as much I love them. Years ago, I had to chose between her and peppers. I chose her but whenever she is away, I choose peppers.

When she leaves for long weekends with her quilting friends, I wait until the trail of dust behind her car settles on the road – then I head for the grocery store.

I buy green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers and when they have them, orange peppers and I put them in everything.

For breakfast, I will toss chopped onion into a sizzling pan of olive oil then slice in some summer sausage and color it all with peppers. Once I have that going, I add hash-browns and a couple of eggs. It’s the kind of meal that keeps you company all day.

Oh yeah, with breakfast hissing in the pan, I fill a crock-pot with chili fixings. The size of the pot will be dictated by how long my wife plans to be away. As for spicing, I only have one rule. It isn’t hot unless it makes your nose bleed.

Now that’s chili and it represents everything my wife hates about my cooking.

Cooking for two is all about compromise, as is marriage. It is about giving up the things we like for the things that We like. Only when the other spouse is away can we revert to the plain unitalicized, unbolded we.

She knows this and by the second day, I will get a call.

“You aren’t cooking peppers are you?”

“Why do you ask?”

“You are, aren’t you?”

“Not at the moment.”

“You better not be stinking up the house, Mister.”

She knows I do the things I like when she is away, and  I suppose it bothers her that being away means I am having fun. It also bothers her that there are things I consider fun that I can’t do around her.  It is a sort of betrayal, as if I am supposed to be the person I am with her and not hiding this inner self.

It would be okay if I ran around in my underwear and lived on beer and ice cream. She could handle that. What is harder to handle is me doing better when she is gone.

She expects me to do something completely irresponsible like walking the dog on a muddy road then letting him run around the house.

I feel I owe her that.

So this weekend, I plan to let the chili pot run over. It will puddle on the counter, streak down the drawers and pool on the floor. Maybe the cats will get into it and make a mess.

This is not to show her that I cannot cook. She knows I can. Nor does it show her that women are better at all things domestic than men — that is so last-century.

What it will show her is that I am helpless without her – which in so many countless ways, is true.

Author: Almost Iowa

30 thoughts on “Cooking With Peppers”

  1. I like everything but the last sentence. I hope it isn’t true since that would be such a cop out. You are too smart and so is she to buy that. But this is about me…isn’t it?

  2. All those fun comments added even more zest to your terrific spicy post–and here is me, blandly saying so.

    Loved the post, the comments, your replies. Great!

  3. What can I add to all those great comments? You sound like a gift to marriage. You are willing to compromise with your wife and spread your cooking wings while she’s away. Great ending.

  4. Loved the story!!! I just love your mean streak:
    “So this weekend, I plan to let the chili pot run over. It will puddle on the counter, streak down the drawers and pool on the floor. Maybe the cats will get into it and make a mess.”
    And then the lovely tribute to your wife at the end. You’re a smart husband! 🙂

  5. May your chili pot runneth over, sir. “It isn’t hot unless it makes your nose bleed.” Classic line. You should try Scorned Woman hot sauce. She’s an evil temptress.

  6. I just hope you put meat into that chili. There are folks out there, and they are evil, that think you can make chili without meat. They call it vegetarian chili. Vegetarian chili is a cancellation in terms. In other words, it is bean soup. And it don’t matter what spices you put in it. It is still bean soup. To say otherwise is like telling me that country without twang is country.

  7. Funny, I like peppers but my husband does not. Neither of us are crazy about chili peppers, but I sometimes cook with chili powder and those ground hot peppers–have a really good chuck roast slow cooker recipe with hot peppers.

    1. It reminds me of the old English proverb Jack Sprat. Here is the original version:

      Jack will eat not fat, and Jull doth love no leane.
      Yet betwixt them both they lick the dishes cleane

    1. When she got home she took one look at the mess and said, “Next time, say it with Hallmark. Now clean up this mess.” It’s why I love her.

  8. I am so grateful that BH and I are culinarily (is that even a word?) compatible. He despises salmon which is a sacrifice I can easily make because I can always order it in a restaurant. The benefit there is that I don’t have to share my entree, selfish soul that I am. Favorite bit in this post: It’s the kind of meal that keeps you company all day.

    1. You have stumbled upon something vitally important to all relationships.

      New Categories for the eHarmony Questionnaire:

      a) List all foods that you will not allow to be cooked in your home.
      b) List all foods that you cannot resist filching off your spouse’s plate.

          1. Ten? Do inform, what’s the ratio of boys to girls? I imagine there must have been abundant sisters as you seem so well-attuned as to how to get along with us wimmen-folk.

            1. The five boys were out-numbered and out-gunned by the six girls. As for getting along, it is a skill we all failed to learn. Someone once said, “if you have two Schillers, you have three opinions.” So what we learned was to fight fair, a wonderful lesson for marriage.

    1. Oh, I know all about ‘bum blisteringly hot’. I made the mistake of ordering curry in a Pakistani restaurant in London. I walked like a duck for days.

        1. I might need that recipe. Can it blow the carbon out of an old Farmal H tractor? The one I have is in critical need of internal cleaning.

          As for me, Texas hot is about the harshest I can handle. We have about 30,000 folks from Laos and Thailand on the East Side of Saint Paul and their food is exceptional – only I say, “Serve it bland and I will spice it. (sparingly)”

  9. Such an adorable ending! I hope your wife reads your blogs 🙂 My stepmom gave up cooking with onions (can you even imagine!!!) for my dad – true love!

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