Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Today I did the unthinkable. I bought an apron. Well, three actually (it was cheaper to go with the multipack). This is it. I am undeniably and officially an at-homer. One of the things that has been the most challenging for me since we began this Foreign Service life is that place on forms where you have to put profession. I want to stress that I have nothing against people being at home with their children - I think it's awesome. I have many friends that do it with pure joy and poise and laughter and I think they are some of the coolest moms (and dads) around. It is just not where I imagined myself. It is especially not where I imagined myself quite comfortable with the way things are.

So, I bit the bullet and decided better to get an apron than to keep staining my clothes with flour and oil and butter and chocolate and tomato and…wine. Maybe I should work towards just wearing the apron all the time.

I have this subtle, if not completely unsubstantiated, feeling that the apron will help me reclaim my kitchen a little bit. I had a friend in college who grew up overseas and she used to complain about having a full-time housekeeper and cook. I thought she was crazy and perhaps a little spoiled. But, she used to say that sometimes, especially when you're a teenager, you just want to throw together a peanut butter sandwich or make a gooey plate of brownies and lick the bowl. She always felt a little sad that she missed out on such opportunities.

As blessed as we are to have someone as amazing as Vilma with us, I do have moments when I just want my own kitchen space. Sometimes I cook something that I have been cooking for years - something we all love - and I find myself wondering if Vilma will like it and feeling bad if it doesn't turn out just perfect. It's like having a constant house guest. I have flipped hundreds of omelets in my life - never, ever missed the skillet - except the other day when Vilma was 12 inches from me, watching over my shoulder. I was a little short with her the other day when she wanted me to buy a soy sauce like substance to "color" the food. Soy sauce should have three or four ingredients, not fifteen. And, I like my food the color of itself. It's hard to explain. And one more thing, we like brown rice. We don't boycott white rice, it's fine, but we like brown. That's what we eat. Please just make brown rice.

And then, today, she made sautedita de atun . I really can't complain, can I? But, maybe there are some as of yet undiscovered gifts in the apron. I'll put it on and like a magic cape I can be invisible. Stirring, mixing, pouring, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, spoon microphone. Home again.


  1. It would come to blows if someone tried to run my kitchen. I dread the domestic help situation.

  2. I think it's great that you are experimenting in the kitchen. That is a full-time job and maybe one day you'll have an "International" cookbook. Don't forget to take pics.

  3. Welcome to the wonderful world of owning aprons!

    I LOVE them! They make life in the kitchen So. Much. Easier! I have many of them - and in different fabrics, even, for different holidays and such. Love them!

    Darling post.

  4. Thanks for the comments. For the record, I think Vilma is actually just doing her job and, like a typical American, I am micromanaging. You all have given me the idea to maybe start collecting aprons from all around the world...

  5. I love my aprons. I don't have to worry about messing up my clothes. I will have a cook for the first time in Malawi and I am not sure how this is going to work out. I love to cook and am not sure I can hand over my kitchen.