Saturday, November 13, 2010

What I Wore. . . and a Minor Marital Spat

I was just a bit pissed off with Pater Friday morning, and he was amused enough about it to piss me off just a bit more and good-natured enough about it to snap the weekly What I Wore shots. The expression in the photo above shows it; the one below shows that I can muster a phoney smile.

What was I annoyed about, you ask? Well, I caught him googling pie crust recipes (I know! I've just reread this, proof-reading, and it's pretty hilarious!). Since retirement, besides supervising our roof-and-skylight reno, catching up on years of undone yardwork, and doing some consulting work, he's begun baking bread, quite successfully. He's long been a master of the paella, a whiz with the curries, a dab hand at homemade pasta with brilliant accompanying sauces, but the baking was my territory, and I'll admit to struggling with the whole bread thing. I made four loaves a week for years when I was home with the kids, but it's been at least a decade since I've found the time. I reluctantly admitted that I was being a pig in the manger, and ceded the yeast and the oven.

You already know that I have no complaints about his recent, new experimenting with desserts -- no possessiveness when it comes to crème brulée. Bring it on, I say.

But I have my own little claim to fame in the kitchen: I am magic with the pie crust -- whether I use the Crisco recipe or work with lard (which tastes better, let's face it!), my pastry is almost invariably flaky. Of course, the secret is pretty simple -- just don't work it too much. Move quickly and confidently with the shaping and the rolling. And I always roll the crust between two sheets of wax paper so I don't worry about over-flouring the counter or having much clean-up, a trick I learned second-hand, from the guy who cooked at a camp with Pater our first or second summer together.

It`s this trick that Pater claimed he was googling over; apparently, he was simply checking whether what he called my `secret methodology` was widely known and disseminated. He protested vehemently that he would never, ever try to take over the pastry-making.
So yes, that smile above? A little bit forced. The expression below more honestly shows my skepticism. But you can also see that I'm ever-so-slightly mollified by someone's assurance that my pie crust is the best ever. . . I might be petty, yes. But I'm hiding the rolling pin . . . and maybe the pastry blender as well!
As for the outfit:
Cashmere leopard-print v-neck, Winners, two years+
Grey wool box-pleated skirt, Gap, two or three years old, love it!
Fluevog boots (Truth Britney), bought this fall but rapidly becoming old classics in my wardrobe.


  1. Once again you're showing us how the Full Skirt is done!

    There's so little in the kitchen that I'm territorial about anymore, and aside from his chocolate chip cookies (best you'll ever taste!) le monsieur has shown only periodic and short-lived interest in cooking. But if he tried to take over the coffee making...grrrr!

  2. LOL!! DH hasn't retired yet but we're already having our little territorial spats. I'm sure his baked treats won't be as good as yours. The trick is muscle memory and you have years more of practice!

  3. I love the neckline of that sweater. And I confess, I don't mind one bit when people take things over. I just hate it when they boss me when I'm supposed to be in charge...

  4. I see that you are smiling naturally in the later image!
    Mater, I consider you a brave woman, for allowing pater into your former "kitchen territory" and confessing on your recent marital spat.
    My mother is the Queen of pastry in our family and we always ask her to bring a pie for dessert...I have her recipe and she is like you in that she doesn't overwork it.

  5. That's hilarious! I've taught Scott everything he knows about cooking and I find it interesting that he has no interest in learning to bake. (Hmmm, maybe I've never offered to teach?). He's a natural in the kitchen. I don't think I'd mind if he started baking, but who knows?

  6. You both sound like incredible cooks! My ex MIL was once asked by my GF Sandra for her pastry recipe. (It is in fact on the TenderFGlake lard box.) When asked how it went, Sandra said "It wasn't as good as yours, I must have left something out- to which MIL replied "Thirty years of experience."

  7. Pseu: Paul does 80% or more of the kitchen stuff 'round here -- grocery shopping, clean-up, everything. But the baking's always been mine. . .
    Nancy: Thanks for the vote of confidence!
    LPC: Funny, I'm the same way, but this last little bit of territory suddenly seems worth defending. I have some ideas what it's about, and may even write about those eventually.
    Hostess: Those of us who have past the 35 years married know that spats happen, right? And that patience and a sense of humour really help. . .
    K: Paul was never, ever interested in baking until this last year. That coinciding with our being back in the same home full-time has meant some territorial adjustments for me -- I'm still making them . . .
    Duchesse: You always have the best stories! And the Tenderflake recipe is one to swear by, truly!

  8. I love your pictures, the expressions on your face!
    I don´t mind my husband cooking in our kitchen ( he does not bake ). The only thing that is bothering me, is the big mess he creates. And naturally I am the one to clear and clean all up.

  9. You make me laugh! Poses are cute, and the full skirt is a total winner.
    Anyone can cook anything in my kitchen, ANYTIME!!!!

  10. Metscan: I admit to such good fortune that you will wonder how I could be annoyed -- my guy not only cooks and bakes, but he also cleans up. . .
    F>50: I'm happy to have anyone cooking in my kitchen as well. But I want to have one little kitchen thing left (besides taking out the compost!) that I can do best. Just one, that's all I'm asking . . .

  11. I will have to swallow my pride and say the box pleat from GAP is perfect, maybe I should go back and keep trying!
    If you had caught Pater Googling lusty Pie-crust babes I could understand! That man is a gift I tell you, and you know it.

  12. Alison: I know! That's why I'm telling tales on myself -- it's just so funny to be annoyed with someone for googling piecrust instead of porn! But it's tough being married to a paragon. . . .as for the Gap skirt, I've got a few pieces from when they did the grey woolens a few years ago, and I bought my daughter a fab leather jacket back in January, but otherwise I haven't liked them much at all for at least the last year or two -- the in-store merchandising seems closer and closer to that of Old Navy, cheap and crowded.

  13. Like LPC, I don't mind my sweetie taking over whatever he likes. There's literally nothing I would defend. But I am interested in your secret. My pie crusts never really work well. I always thought it was because I have warm hands.

    I love your blouse and you look great.

  14. LOL! Love the great pastry debate of 2010. Hilarious. I feel sure he would never try to encroach on your pastry making skills. It is likely just awe and wonder how you make the magic happen that got him googling.
    The outfit looks like a sister outfit to the one that K-line is making. Doesn't it?

  15. Susan: I think the big trick is keeping things cool and working quickly -- I roll the pastry (after chilling it in the fridge) between two sheets of wax paper, another way to minimize handling.
    LBR: K's is so much sexier though -- that sexy-librarian skirt, especially!

  16. I am making pie crust next week and am already worried about it falling apart before I place it in the pie pan. So two sheets of wax paper sounds like a dream! Merci!!

  17. Miss C: I'd love to know how the trick works for you. Good luck!

  18. Oh goodness, that made me really laugh. I am identically territorial about my pastry making (use the same trick of two sheets of baking paper, etc), and it is the one thing that even my mother (who cooks professionally) concedes I do better than her. I was quite annoyed when she baked a pumpkin pie as soon as she arrived at my house a couple of weeks ago. I did bite my tongue (for once). Spouse has no interest in or aptitude for cooking; sometimes I wish he did, but mostly I like him to stay out of the kitchen.

  19. Tiffany: I'm glad someone else gets it! I was beginning to feel pretty petty. . . bottom line is that I know there's something at least slightly competitive going on -- as it sounds like there is with your mother.


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