Anybody who knows me knows I have one cardinal rule: don’t cross me in the kitchen. This rule becomes more difficult to follow when I invite you into my space for a delectable homemade meal!
I like to think that I’m generally a pretty kind and agreeable person. I believe in compromise, working together, trusting others and instilling confidence in them by supporting their choices. But not while I’m cooking, dammit. Not when it comes to the integrity of my food.
Sound harsh? Maybe a bit. But, there’s a reason why the phrase “Too many cooks in the kitchen” exists. Because it’s a real fucking problem, dammit. In my home, the rules of a professional restaurant kitchen apply: I am the head chef; do not do anything unless you are told; don’t make suggestions about altering recipes or menus, and definitely don’t get in my way.
Sometimes my rigidity with cooking duties can create awkwardness. Like, when I’m cooking for guests and somebody good-heartedly asks if they can help with anything, or says “Is that all the bacon you’re going to use?” People: I know you’re trying to be helpful, but please, just sit down, relax, and trust your host!
If you’re anything like me, I suggest that you find some tactics for avoiding this type of interference: as well as creating a situation for yourself where you, the host, can enjoy your guests’ company when you have them over for dinner!
1. Firstly, opt for making something that gets roasted instead of cooked atop a stove. I find that when I can put something in the oven, rather than in a pan, it allows me to step away and not be so consumed with the act of cooking. This is a great route to take when you have people entering your kitchen, because you can make sure that everything is already in the process of cooking before anybody enters your personal space.
2. Secondly, don’t be afraid to say no! Sure, part of being a good host is accommodating your guests, but if somebody asks if they can help you and there’s honestly nothing you feel comfortable delegating, just tell them to sit down and shut up. Or maybe just sit down and relax?
3. Lastly, think up some tasks ahead of time that you can dole out to people if they ask to lend a hand, but that aren’t so essential that they depend on the help of others. Like setting the table, or pouring glasses of wine!