We’ve all heard the term, use it or lose it. All you have to do is look at the mess our current voting system is in to realize the truth of that statement. Still, I’ve promised that I’ll stay away from politics so I’ll let that one pass.

In college I learned how to do differential equations. Sadly, after graduating I’ve never had a need to do more than do a little matrix algebra. Decades later, I probably wouldn’t recognize an opportunity to solve a problem with a differential equation if it walked up and kicked me in the shin. It’s true that the knowledge is still there and a few hours of study would probably bring the skill back but having lost the skill, I no longer recognize the opportunity to apply the skill.

Differential equations are not the only instance of use it or lose it in my life. Like riding a bike, I haven’t forgotten the skills but knowing when and how to apply them has sadly diminished.

Both of us know that so why am I bringing it up now? Well, based on the events of this weekend, I wanted to give all the husbands out there a warning. You see there was a time, before I was married, when I could cook. When I was single I cooked my meals every night. I cooked pot roast, casseroles and chicken with rice. For desert I made cookies, one cake and even candy a few times. Being remarkably cheap, I had a basic rule of existence, no fast foods.

After I got married, I made a couple of meals for my wife but we had some fundamental disagreements on how food should be prepared, (she likes her spaghetti al dente, I like it edible).  Bowing to the inevitable, I stopped cooking. I’m still able to heat left overs in the microwave and cook frozen dinners but actually cooking something, that was long ago.

Due to a lack of planning on my part, I found myself spending the weekend with no wife and no frozen foods. I wasn’t worried, I have a fully stocked freezer, a refrigerator and several cabinets full of canned goods. There was no way I would starve.

I'm sure they make wonderful meals

I’m sure they make wonderful meals

Oops. When I abrogated my duties as a cook I also abandoned the need to stock the larder. The freezer has a number of unmarked packages of meat but since I already know the chicken hearts and liver are meant for dog treats (at least I hope so), I have no idea what the other bundles represent. I was fairly sure the turkey was safe but my wife would be home long before it defrosted. There was a package of pork ribs but I quickly recognized them as being outside of my capabilities.

A look inside the cabinets was equally mystifying. I know the cans of salmon are used for salmon croquettes but how I get them from a can to croquettes was a mystery far more daunting than that of producing gold from lead. Equally mystifying were the jar of Carbonara, with bacon bits no less, and the jar of sweet pickled garlic. I’m sure they would make incredibly great tasting food but where do I start? What ingredients do I need to produce these wondrous repasts?

What do these go with?

What do these go with?

Anyone know what the white hominy or artichoke hearts are for? Can I use them with the Carbonara? How about the seven different varieties of baked beans? I count myself truly blessed that my small rural town has a Sonic. I could have starved.

Use it or lose it. Please, if you’re married, take this as a warning. Don’t allow your wife to take over the kitchen. Take the time to fix her a meal every once in a while. She’ll really appreciate it and you will benefit in multiple ways, especially when your wife spends the weekend at a dog show.

Final Word: I knew I should have posted this last night. While looking for something to cook that was within my capabilities, I came across a container of sugar that was infested with small insects, at least that’s what I thought. Nothing was moving but there was certainly no reason to keep infested sugar so I threw it out. This morning I got a call from my wife asking why I threw out her lavender sugar. In my defense, those small bits of lavender certainly looked like insects but I admit I should have noticed the larger container full of sugar.

Did you know it takes six months before sugar acquires a lavender flavor? Neither did I. Want to guess how long I’ll be paying for this mistake? That’s my guess too.

Lose It

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