how the food network saved my marriage

Nov 20, 2014

Okay, maybe that post title is a little dramatic. My marriage was never in a state of needing to be saved, but my cooking skills were. Actually they were non-existent for a long time. I come from a long line of amazing Italian cooks, but my mother never really taught me the ins and outs of it all. I just showed up at the table and ate. But then I was a 19 year old who ran off and got married on a whim. Never did I think I would have to cook for myself, let alone someone else. When Chris got home from deployment we were in our first apartment what do we do for dinner? Chris loves to tell stories of the first time I cooked him eggs, he didn't eat them. Or the fact that I couldn't make a decent turkey sandwich. Or the many many dinners ruined by over seasoning, or just burning all together. It was awful! We ate out for almost every meal for about three years!! 
thanksgiving 2012

Then I got pregnant with Ace and quit my job just before he was born. I was still a full time student, but my days were primarily spent at home. Alone. I found this thing called the Food Network. I would sit for hours upon hours watching shows, writing down recipes, making grocery lists. I would go to the store armed with the things I would need for an amazing meal. I was putting ingredients in my cart I had never heard of. I was learning words like, deglaze, skewer, score, whip, zest! I mean it was this whole new world. And anyone that knows me can tell you once I get going with something, there is no stopping me. I just immerse myself in that one thing. There were so many dinners that were not edible. Chris was a good sport about at least trying everything. Even if we ended up ordering a late night pizza. But I was determined to be able to have family dinners that I grew up with. I wanted my kids to crave mamas cooking. That is how I was. I loved going home from college to a huge bowl of pasta and sausage my mom spent all day cooking. Once I got a feel for it I had my mom send me my grandmothers recipes. Sunday sauce, cookies, breads, pastas. I was obsessed. 

Thanksgiving was always my fear though. My mom had always done Thanksgiving every year, every single part of it. All one million dishes that she put out. Wellll....except for that one year, you know that one mom, the one you had catered! But I was so intimidated by the thought of it all. When we moved to Alaska I was up, it was my turn. Chris put the added pressure on me by saying "do you really think you can make it taste as good as your moms?" and then he invited his Dad. To my FIRST attempt. His dad is pretty much a professional food critic, no really. I had sleepless nights. A thousand lists going. I even made a damn excel time chart to make sure everything was being cooked at the right time. I wanted it to be perfect. And it came out pretty good, actually really good. I was impressed, Chris and my father in law even admitted to having their doubts. And now it is that time of year again. My third year pulling out all the stops. Making more food than we really need. But it is all about the memories, and creating our own traditions. 

So thank you Food Network for teaching me how to cook. My family thanks you more. 

How does your story in the kitchen go? Who taught you to cook? Or do you cook? 


  1. Food Network is my jam! I have seriously learned SO much from watching! We did our first Thanksgiving just before Adri was born. I haven't done one since then, but I'm looking forward to going all in!

  2. The first thing I learned to cook? Opening a can of Chicken Noodle Soup and throwing it in a pot for a few minutes! I definitely didn't learn much while I was at home - just like you my mom (and grandmother) took care of the food-making. I mean, they were good at it, I obviously didn't want to outshine them. It was probably when I studied abroad in Italy that I really started cooking edible things. It helps that my husband is a trash compactor. I have yet to throw my own Thanksgiving though - not sure I'm ready for that!

    1. What an amazing opportunity to study abroad...and Italy of all places! That is one place I would love to take some cooking classes, get down to my roots ;)

  3. I can cook; I had 6 siblings and I was one of the oldest. When given a choice between, say, mowing and cooking dinner, I would cook dinner. It had the added bonus that I could pick what I wanted to eat. Now that I live alone, I sometimes cook (with plenty of leftovers!) and sometimes just go for what's easy. Way to go on Thanksgiving feasts though! I have no problem with any of the Thanksgiving sides, but I really don't want to try a turkey!

  4. Oh how I love Food Network!!! I've always loved to cook and am pretty good at it, but they definitely help me too.

  5. I don't enjoy cooking. I try but I just don't.

  6. wow my palms started sweating thinking about that first thanksgiving! an excel spreadsheet? i love you even more now. i love a good spreadsheet. and you succeeded, so take that chris! i really wish i could cook, you know the ones, that don't need a recipe? but i always will need one. and i have a matt who stands behind me and judges so i relinquish that throne to him forever and ever.

  7. Haha, I love this story! I would love to become a better cook!
    And that's so funny that you burned eggs too....Sam and I cooked breakfast for dinner on our first date, and I burned the omelets! Poor guy still ate it, because he liked me so much hahaha

  8. I don't do much cooking, mostly Mike cooks. But when I do cook and he's home he just questions me on what i'm doing and then I yell at him. True story. haha

  9. I'm self taught via the food network and!

  10. I'm not much of a cooker myself but I love me some Food Channel... it's like porn.

  11. I've loved to cook since I was in High School and my husband is the same way. We love being in the kitchen and experimenting. That being said...we just made our first turkey last year. It was nerve wracking.

    Since school has started up again and that meant new jobs for both of us, I've fallen into the role of cooking most evenings. And boy! It's quite the challenge! Kudos to whoever cooks all of the meals and doesn't easily stress!



© Pardon My French All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger