Learning to cook was easier than learning not to cook

My introduction to cooking came early. As an only child, I spent a lot of time hanging out with Mom in the kitchen, watching her go through the rituals of meal preparation.

And rituals they were. Mom made everything the old-fashioned way, as she learned from her elders. Of course nearly everything she made was Armenian.

I thought watching her was great fun, especially as I got to taste everything. Our kitchen time became even more enjoyable when Mom started to show me how to cook. Mom  stressed that it was important to be self sufficient and not become the sort of man who needed a wife to feed him.

Luckily for me, I learned Mom’s lessons. Better yet, I also got a wife who feeds me — and quite well, thanks!

This arrangement has worked out well for years, as we’ve taken turns being the daily cook depending on whose schedule worked best. But life takes funny turns now and then that upset even the most reliable routine.

I’ve written before about my sudden loss of smell after a head injury a couple of years ago. It hasn’t come back, and it most likely never will. This has played havoc with my taste, but that’s another story. The problem that cropped up recently was much bigger.

Anosmia, as it’s called, comes with a list of things to avoid because of potential danger. Among them is using gas appliances. I’d never know if there was a leak. This is not usually a problem for us because we have an electric stove.

The problem is that we took a trip to New Jersey to stay at Robyn’s mother’s house, which has a gas stove.

I happily stepped out of the kitchen, until Robyn’s mother unfortunately was hospitalized for a week or so. Robyn and the rest of the family migrated to her sister’s house, closer to the hospital. I stayed behind to finish a writing project on deadline.

That left me with no way to cook except with the microwave. I won’t bore you with the details, but I filled up mostly on canned soup and Minute Rice mixed with madzoon.

Robyn returned to discover that I’d survived, although I’d been drinking sour milk — another little sensation I can no longer detect.

I can’t complain, as so many people have much bigger problems. I think Mom would be proud that I am still self-sufficient.

I’m just not always as well fed.  


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  1. Anonymous August 18, 2012 at 1:17 am

    How awful that your sense of small hasn't come back. I can't imagine! Hopefully it will at least partially return at some point.

    This reminds me of my Odar grandmother. She lived in Dorchester and was having gas issues at the house at some point. I remember my Dad getting her a bird. I know it's terrible, but much like in coal mines, the gas would get to the bird before it got to her and she'd know the problem was recurring. Sadly, she went through a few before they found the problem. 🙁

    She, on the other hand, lived to 108! By the last few years, I think the only thing her taste buds would still pick up on was Altoids. My Dad would get them by the case for her LOL.

    Hope your Mother in Law is doing better now.

  2. Gina August 18, 2012 at 5:19 am

    So sorry that your sense of smell has not returned but thankfully for us readers your writing skills are so entertaining! Hope you and Robyn are enjoying the rest of the summer!


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