Sweet Pea’s Side Dish: Introducing Sweet Pea’s Better Half
Welcome to the second edition of “Sweet Pea’s Side Dish”, where once a week I share with you what’s going on in my life besides food. This is a place to share with you what is going on in my life, baby stuff, our traveling adventures, and whatever else I feel like rambling on about that week. This week I want to introduce you to my better half, the love of my life, and best friend, Andrew. He has made appearances before on the blog making tasty treats such as Ras Malai, Caramel Flan, Classic Panna Cotta, Carrot Cake, and most recently Sea Salt Caramel Truffle Ice Cream. I’m very excited to introduce you to the person who’s seen me at my best and worst: my husband Andrew…
Over the last several years I have been the very fortunate recipient of the wonderful meals and treats lovingly crafted by Sweet Pea (SP). As an adventurous man with an adventurous palate, marrying SP was the best decision of my life. Remarkably, I was able to fool her into viewing me as a suitable mate long enough to solidify my role as permanent taste tester in her kitchen. This kitchen of course is Sweet Pea’s Kitchen (SPK), the subject of her blog. In previous postings she has occasionally given me some credit for my assistance and has occasionally placed a few photos of me in action. After several years of posting, SP thought it would be reasonable for me to finally introduce myself.
I am a 34 year old typical Midwestern guy mixed with a bit of type A personality and a good helping of proud dork-ness. SP and I live in Peoria, IL where I moved for my job as a dermatopathologist. Before you ask, I do not do CSI type work, although I did a small amount of forensic pathology in my residency. Mostly, my job entails sitting behind a microscope diagnosing skin disease. I could not ask for a better career! When I am not looking at that strange mole the dermatologist just cut off you, I enjoy a wide range of hobbies including reading, adventure traveling, hiking, gardening, getting in over my head trying to fix everything and anything, eating/drinking with friends, board games and when the mood strikes I like to cook. Thirteen months ago I found out that I am also a doting father. If I am not working and Little Sweet Pea (LSP) is awake we are together without exception. Time with LSP is the most rewarding and enjoyable activity bar none. Post-apocalyptic zombie survival novels are not too far behind! I could go on and on about other dorky interests (for example I LOVE sitting down with a cup of coffee and working out the household monthly budget) but this is a food blog so I should probably address my interest in the kitchen and my relationship with SP.
I am the efficient pragmatic counterpart to SP’s magical whimsy. While she adds the intangible quality that makes a meal taste as if it were “made with love”, I add precise measurements of efficiently and evenly chopped garlic according to her instruction. This is not a glorious distinction, but I am content with my utilitarian function. My passable kitchen skills date back to high school during which time I found employment as a cook in an upscale retirement community. Chopping thousands of pounds of fruit for the fruit salad and never ending amounts of celery, carrots and onions for whatever the current soup of the day happened to be was a rough introduction to the commercial kitchen. Over the course of a few years, my duties evolved to preparing actual meals with the ingredients begrudgingly chopped by the newest hire being hazed. I gained useful experience with prepping, grilling, boiling, broiling, baking etc. while making enough money to entertain myself.
Fast-forward to my senior year of undergrad and life finds me drinking at a good bud’s apartment. Here enters the future SP both into the dwelling and into my life. I remember every detail. She was beautiful and had on a ridiculous blue shirt that read “blondie”. I strategically ignored her while grabbing and feigning interest in the nearest magazine in an effort to play the game of not interested. Apparently I was on my game that night, as after being ignored for several hours while the apartment filled up with young partiers, SP came to talk to me. With the exception of some of my travels, I don’t believe we have been apart for more than a day since that initial meeting.
Now here is an interesting fact that is vehemently denied by my SP. I taught her how to cook. I had been cooking for myself for quite some time prior to meeting SP and continued as our relationship grew. As I recall, I don’t think she made me a meal for the first several years of our courtship. Having some basic skills, I made all the meals for our at-home dates while she stood nearby with a glass of wine swirling in her hand. Over time, however, she picked up both the desire and the skill set to not only match but to far surpass my abilities in the kitchen. To this day I am not sure how she can deny this reality, but she does. I am sure I will hear a rebuttal to this introduction if she allows it to be published at all.
That is how I came to be Mr Sweet Pea and how the seeds of SPK were sowed (my version/the accurate version). Over the last several years I have really enjoyed watching SPK grow and have loved watching SP continually introduce new foods into our lineup. I am sincerely thankful to the readers of this blog for providing support and encouragement to my SP in her efforts to build this project.
If anyone would like to share any comments regarding their introduction to cooking, stupid games they played while dating or even their favorite zombie book I’d love to read them. Maybe SP will even let me ramble on again sometime in the future about some topic or another. Until then, thanks again!