Life As A Human editor, Christine Roome, and her husband prepare the holiday feast together. Out of the two of them, it is the tech savvy one who perfects the cooking of the Christmas bird.
Did you know that the Life As A Human Software Development Manager is a fabulous cook? Well, he is. I should know because I married him. Here is the caveat, though. When I met him just over 10 years ago, Loch was still sipping from soda cans and accepting flat foods through the gap in the bottom of the door. Perhaps it was because his shoes were too tight or maybe, just maybe, his head wasn’t screwed on just right. But, whatever the reason, after he met me, my darling Lochinvar started to cook with glee… and I gracefully put on 15 pounds. He cooks wonderful roast beast and yorkies, fabulous caesar salads, grills steaks and seafood to perfection, mashes potatoes with flavours so complex they should be the foundation of an academic Phd., creates stews and soups that could comfort even the most downtrodden, fashions home made BBQ sauce, roasts Lamb that is heavenly and once he even cooked a dish called slumpy, which has the amazing power to stay with you for weeks. Seriously, this is what bears eat for dinner so that they can sleep for months.
When I met him I was a pretty good cook, myself. I held dinner parties and friends loved my food. However, I was also a vegetarian. Loch is not. But, he cooked me one steak and I never looked back. I slowly backed out of the kitchen and accepted that this domain now belonged to him. And, so here we are. It is Christmas 2011 and he has been preparing the menu for weeks. Our parents joined us for dinner – our mothers having decades of great cooking between them. We had huge shoes to fill. On Christmas morning we had breakfast at my mother’s house, left the kids with my parents and rushed home to prepare our home and the dinner.
I am his sous chef and simply do what I’m told. Today I’m in charge of the stuffing. I have cleaned the house, set the table and am ready to assist him. I hear him muttering in the kitchen and I come in to find him in slight panic mode. “The bird is cooking too fast. I’ve got to slow it down.” After some quick discussion on whether or not it’s a good idea to take it out for a bit, I am ushered out of the kitchen because he has come up with a plan.
When I next return, the computer is on the kitchen island, the high tech thermometer is sitting next to the iPhone – it’s tail snaking into the oven where it is pierced into the flesh of our 15lb bird – and a spreadsheet has been filled in. He’s calculating the time it takes for the bird’s temp to raise one degree and he’s charting like a woman hell bent on conceiving.
“Holy Crap!” I say. “I know,” he replies. “Isn’t this great? I’ve found a system that works. I’m able to adjust the temperature on the oven to control exactly how fast I want this bird to cook.” He pauses momentarily. “Next year will be even better. I’ve got a whole year to write a program and design and build a hobby computer with two thermometers. One to measure oven temp, one to measure turkey temp and a display indicating what temp the oven should be for optimal cooking time.” He should be ashamed, but he is not. Not for the first or last time, his inner geek has come bounding out of the closet and this time it is completely in charge of the kitchen.
Until Loch and I started to work together on Life As a Human, I believed that women’s studies grads and software engineers only met once a year at a December 6th vigil. Now I know different. But, on this Christmas night, I am smart enough to know that the domain of the kitchen belongs to the tech savvy person. He’s got it scientifically under control and so I back away and continue making the house look pretty.
And, the dinner?
It was fabulous.
Photos courtesy of Christine Roome