My Man in the Kitchen

Oct 22, 2018 | 3 comments

You can tell a lot about a man by taking a look at his relationship to the kitchen. You can judge his self-confidence, his ingenuity, his sense of adventure, and probably his political attitude, well.  When that man is in the kitchen in a wheelchair, you can learn even more.

From the time of our very first “date,” I’ve been aware of Nyel’s confidence and competence in the kitchen.  On that particular occasion, nearly 35 years ago, he brought all the ingredients to my house and prepared a gourmet meal for me – chicken with grapes!  And all the trimmings right down to Dilettante chocolates and brandy for dessert.  OMG!  I was in love.

I remember that he made his way around my meager kitchen with ‘nary a question. He eyeballed the hanging pots and pans, inventoried what was on the open shelves, checked out the refrigerator and set up shop – all the while, unpacking the groceries he had brought and getting right down to it.  He did have a cookbook with him – Craig Claiborne’s 60-Minute Gourmet.

I think I probably asked him, “Do you really like to cook?”  His answer:  “I like to eat.”  Since I’m not passionate about either of those activities, I was filled with wonder.  I still am.  After all these years, Nyel still does most of the cooking in our household – whether it’s for company dinner or just for the two of us.  It’s not that I can’t cook – I just don’t much like to.

The last time Nyel was seriously impaired and completely bed-bound for three months, we managed just fine.  I’m not an inventive cook, but I can do three meals a day without difficulty.  As Nyel often points out to me, I did just fine raising a family and doing kitchen-duty for the forty-seven years before he and I met.  My rejoinder, of course, “That didn’t mean I liked it.”

Both of us are firm believers in cooking from scratch. Fresh produce, fresh meat, home-made soup – the basics.  I try to ‘enjoy’ my time in the kitchen, but both of us know that the stretch from ‘endure’ to ‘enjoy’ is a long one for me.  Our friends know that, too, and we have been blessed with many gifts of food – sometimes the ingredients for an easy-peasy-just-open-the-package-and-heat-and-serve meals, and sometimes casseroles or soups ready to put on the table.

Meanwhile, in true you-can’t-keep-a-good-man-down fashion, Nyel is back in his domain at the west end of the house!  If it’s within his reach from the wheelchair, it’s food for fodder, so to speak!  He’s pretty much got breakfast and lunch covered.  Cooking dinner has become a tandem affair – he does the prep at the table and I do the stand-up routines at the stove. What a team!  One thing for sure… we are not suffering in the meal department.  My man in the kitchen sees to that!


  1. Marion

    You are quite the team and it all sounds very good! Happy to hear that you both are getting along well with Nyel’s predicament.

  2. Cynthia K.

    Love to both of you!

  3. Kristina Jones

    Ah, me Dear, you rival even my beloved James Thurber when it comes to truth telling, poignant description and laughter! Thanks and Luv, KK


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