Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

by Julie

My husband has come up with some great gift ideas through the years, but his most recent Christmas gift to me has the potential to rank up there as one of the best.

First a little recap: We've stopped buying a lot of "stuff" for ourselves and for the kids. We did buy them iPods a few years back, but mostly we try to come up with gifts that are more about the experience than about accumulation. My husband is the one who came up with the idea of taking them to see Wicked (also a few years back). Since then, we've done family Segway tours, gone skiing, and seen other stage performances.

Side note: I truly believe that cleaning our basement (remember that project?) has had a major impact on our buying habits. We don't want stuff here any more. You know - decorative objects that are cute but do nothing. Things that aren't consumable.

Anyway, in the interest of not bringing more tchotchkes into the house, we've had to get clever about our gift-giving. Last Christmas, my husband came up with a fun one for me: He would cook me dinner one night a month for the entire year.

Now... you have to understand that my husband doesn't cook. Even when we're grilling, I'm in charge. He's had some experience baking (his mother saw to that), but cooking is a whole new experience for him.

Here we are, in October, and I have to say that he has done a magnificent job! He'd disagree in a couple of instances, but he'd be wrong. Everything has been superb. He takes his time -- way more than I do -- he preps every ingredient before he gets started. In short, he does everything right and never cuts corners (the way I do). He makes everything from scratch.

His first dinner did take about ten hours, start to finish, but his timing's improved a lot over these months. The last dinner took barely more than three hours from start to finish, so that's a vast improvement. We've had scallops, ratatouille, ribs, lamb chops, pork chops, and more. He's made a point of using recipes that I've never tried, so that everything is new. I've since adopted a few of his dishes and added them to our regular rotation. Delicious, really.

As we approach the end of the year, I'm sorry to see this gift end. I've hinted, repeatedly, that I'd like this gift again this year, but he says maybe he'll take on the ironing instead. Not a chance!

What's been one of your favorite gifts of all time?