Moroccan Chicken tagine with Olives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s been a shocker of a week in Dysfunctionality House. It’s funny how something as simple as fusing the toaster on Monday morning, (which tripped the electrical switch so that I couldn’t get out of the garage to go to work), could set off such a chain of unfortunate events.
I feel as though someone has kicked me in the proverbial bollocks.
Two things were preying on my mind after that auspicious start to the week: the first was the latest in our family therapy sessions aimed to help Kurt manage his personality ADHD and behavior, and the second was finding anything something I could cook for some friends (yes, I did say ‘friends’) of the old man’s from work, who are coming to dinner in a few weeks time.
As you may have discovered via this blog, cooking is not my forte, so the dinner party is frankly causing me to piss my pants in fear.
As it turns out, ‘therapy’ and marriage are not my forte either.
I have tried to approach family therapy with a positive and responsible attitude and not see it as another example of my failure as a parent. Nevertheless, I remain a little distrusting of the process. But where I may need some convincing, the old man and Kurt are downright scathing, so what happens during our meetings is that I end up doing what I always do in situations where the old man refuses to play ball (and I feel exposed), which is to ‘fill’ for him.
Basically, I TALK while Kurt (supposedly the recipient of the therapy) sits there like any other grumpy teenager, aided and abetted by his sidekick and the class clown, the old man; who attempts to unhinge me every step of the way, without actually contributing anything to the conversation.
The new catchphrase of the moment in our house is ‘and how does that make you feel?’ because this is what the therapist constantly probes Kurt and the old man with, again and again, in an effort to draw them out.
Luckily for them, if there is one thing I am an Olympian at, it is talking.
Particularly when I’m nervous.
Towards the end of this week’s session, after I had released every skeleton from every cupboard in our house and the therapist caught the old man sniggering surreptitiously at Kurt, she put her pencil down sharply and said, ‘ before we go any further, I think we need to address the elephant in the room.’
Both boys immediately looked straight at me and I could see a ‘fat’ joke hatching. If the old man had been given a stage and a mike at that point he might of actually responded, ‘ I take offence at you talking about my wife like that…’, but fortunately some level of maturity prevailed and he managed to control his juvenile instincts for once.
Kurt was dismissed from the room and the therapist then proceeded to ask us about the ‘elephant’, which turned out to be our marriage.
Like we don’t have enough to worry about.
So my state of mind was not as it should have been as I approached the kitchen afterwards to try out my Chicken Tagine recipe in preparation for the big night. Luckily, I had managed to organize a dry run with some guinea pigs old friends on Saturday night. It should have been easy – I mean, I’d stolen my whole menu from a friend’s dinner party a few weeks before.
But you know when you’re just not feelin it? The old man kept pacing behind me and seemed about as nervous about the outcome as I was, which only added to the pressure. Nevertheless, I chopped and I diced, I stirred and I poured and I held my breath, and as usual my culinary skills didn’t disappoint. The end result did resemble a chicken tagine, but when I did the Masterchef taste test, my tagine had less flavour than plain boiled chicken.
I still don’t know WTF happened to all those spices I poured in.
At the end of the evening, when our friends suggested sending over alternative tagine recipes, I knew that the dish was as the old man generally describes my cooking, ‘edible, but not quite right.’
It seems that neither my marriage nor my cooking are ‘quite right.’
Well, tomorrow is the start of another week, we have a new toaster and I’ve left the garage door open.
All idiot-proof Chicken Tagine recipes for Dummies most welcome!