I'm a bit of a control freak in all areas of my life. As class president in high school I had a very difficult time allowing anyone else to help in planning prom or any other events. I just felt like it wouldn't get done correctly if I didn't do it myself. This is not a healthy way of thinking.
I've tried to be better. Really. But in the kitchen I have a very hard time letting go of that control. Often times it's because I'm trying something new so I don't really know what needs to happen next or how much of something to add until it is time to do so. There is also that peace and rhythm that I fall into while cooking and since my kitchen is so small having someone else there breaks that up a little. However! There is something so great about cooking with other people. Bouncing ideas off of one another, getting advice or another opinion when something isn't going well, having extra hands to be able to do many things at once. Plus the conversation and the bonding that is inevitable while working side by side. It is something that, despite my controlling ways, I have come to love.
My friend Alicja and I go through bottles of wine and (what seems to be) barrels of hummus and rice crackers while preparing food. A college friend, Mary, and I are preparing to get together for a day of Christmas candy making to make up for being away from our families for the holidays. And cooking side by side with my husband always makes it feel like an extra special evening.
The other night we didn't exactly cook together, but after dinner we did take the time to sit around on our couch and decorate some sugar cookies. (I'm going to be perfectly honest and admit that I got the store-bought cookie dough and frosting. To my defense I've had a cold and was having a super lazy day) We are not particularly gifted in the art of cookie decorating (although I'm particularly proud of Joe's line drawing tribute to John Lennon). However, it was a lovely evening spent doing something other that just watching TV.
I urge you to keep dinner from being a chore by getting in the kitchen with someone you love. Catch up while chopping, searing, or prepping side-by-side and then sit down to enjoy your efforts and keep the conversation going. I guarantee the meal (and the company) will be extra delicious.