My mom makes the most fantastic chicken soup on the planet. When I got married, I wanted to master this recipe because 1.) I wanted to show my husband I could cook like her and 2.) I figured it was impossible to mess up soup. I was wrong about that second one.
I called mom for the recipe and the first thing she says is, “you buy a whole chicken”. I had never cooked a “whole” anything. The closest I had gotten was a whole pizza (newlywed tip: always keep a frozen pizza around in case of dinner disasters. It’s a nice insurance policy). I get the chicken home before realizing I don’t know what to do with this thing next. So I call mom back. She proceeds to tell me there’s stuff inside it I have to get out. Say what???? I wasn’t looking for all this intimacy with my poultry. I may as well have gone out and rung its neck and plucked the feathers myself.
So I did what she said, and a traumatizing 30 minutes and a few more ingredients later, I had my masterpiece.
Yeah, he better enjoy this after what I went through.
Needless to say, it was terrible and most certainly not like my mom made it. But, Andy chose to be kind. He said it was great and even insisted on seconds while I had personally moved on to “cook” that insurance policy pizza for myself.
Not only did he eat the awful soup when it was hot, he took more to eat the next day for lunch. It was so sweet. I knew he was going the extra mile to build my confidence.
After lunch, he called me to tell me a “funny” story. “Do you know what I found in the soup?” he asked. Not the question a new cook wants to hear. “What?” I asked with trembling voice. “THE HEART!” Yep. During that stomach turning sweep of the chicken’s cavity I left something behind. I was devastated, but he laughed and said he didn’t care. In hindsight, I guess it’s a good thing we had an extra heart around, since mine was broken. I wanted so badly to be what I envisioned as the perfect wife, and there was no way around being a great cook to fulfill that fantasy.
As I’ve gotten older and more experienced, I’ve learned that the idea of the “perfect wife” was a fallacy, but this dinner disaster showed me what real love is.
Love thinks about others before self. Love put my husband’s desire for a good meal before my desire to not disassemble the chicken. Love put my need to feel successful above Andy’s desire to push away the bowl. Love put that heart in the soup to show me that Andy didn’t love the idea of a perfect wife, he loved the imperfect wife he had.
I needed this experience to shatter the fear that I had to live up to stereotypes. I’m the woman God created me to be and my husband wants me to be. Nothing else matters.
P.S. After this debacle, mom informed me you could just use pre-packaged chicken breasts, thanks for the late info.