Last January Ward said to me, “Would it be okay if I cooked dinner this Saturday?”

Would it be okay? Up until then, we ordered take-out more often than not, and a “home-cooked” meal around here meant taking something out of the freezer and sticking it in the microwave. I nearly stumbled in my eagerness to show him exactly where all the major cooking equipment and basic ingredients were located.

That first Saturday, he made a meal that knocked my socks off.

He said, “I enjoyed that. Would it be okay if I cooked next Saturday, too?”

Uh, yes. It would be more than okay. It would be fabulous!

One thing lead to another, and soon Ward was in charge of all the meals.

Not that I found myself out of a job in the kitchen. I am now in charge of finding recipes and preparing menus. Occasionally I get drafted as a sous chef. And most importantly, I get to eat everything Ward prepares.

It’s been a very filling and fulfilling fifteen months to date. I’ve gained a few pounds (the treadmill beckons). I’ve also gained a husband who now shares my interest in food. It’s added a whole new layer of interest to our relationship.

Before he started cooking, Ward was very much a meat and potatoes type of man. As the chief instructor at his martial arts club, Renseikan Dojo, he mainly saw food as fuel for the body. Calories were to be taken in as efficiently as possible; taste was not a consideration.

Sure, there was that one year he became a “vegetarian”, but it really just meant he ate mostly cheese and peanut butter, since there were only a few vegetables with which he saw eye to eye. He was horrified to be within sight of foods like olives, capers and anchovies. And while he professed to adore garlic as much as I did (I’m a 30 clove kind of person), in reality he kept it at arm’s length.

Now that he’s taken over the kitchen? The man’s willing to try any new kind of food. He went from hating the smell of curry to revelling in how spicy he could get his various curry recipes to taste. A recipe that features olives and capers has him pretty happy, and anchovies are old hat.

As for me? Well, I’m loving it. I get to eat. I get to look through cookbooks and food sites and blogs, finding recipes for things I’d like to try. And Ward’s cooking has gotten so good, we hardly ever go out anymore because he’s able to recreate incredible gourmet feasts for us right here at home.

We hope you enjoy looking around Muse in the Kitchen. It’s our food home online, and we’re glad to have you here!

Belle Wong & Ward Jardine
May 2009