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Carol Perkins: Mama Don't Cook No More

Carol Perkins has discovered a whole new allergy, 'the stove allergy' - a good one to have, she says, and a good subject for a country music song (first dibs, all rights reserved by columnist). While it may not be contagious, she noticed a lot of her friends have it, too. The Stove Allergy is helping the restaurant industry in Metcalfe County thrive. Carol Perkins column is weekly, usually of a Sunday.

The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins/Travelogue: Critique of Branson

By Carol Perkins

I have a new allergy. It's call "stove" allergy and will not allow me to stand close to a stove or an oven without breaking out in hives and wheezing. Sounds like a good allergy to have, as far as I'm concerned, but Guy has had a negative reaction to it. Suddenly, "Mama don't cook no more." (Sounds like a country music song.)


Allergy came on without warning, gradually

The allergic reaction happened without warning. Gradually, I felt a twinge of pain when I flipped one of the switches to my Whirlpool I couldn't live without until I got it. As the burner heated, I felt faint and breathless, sweat popped out. By the time the food was in the pan, I was worn out and exhausted and needed to put my feet up in my recliner. Whatever I was cooking wasn't worth the effort and messed up the kitchen in the process.

Onset at retirement . . . the first time

Maybe this began when I retired...the first time. Obviously, I must have retired from cooking, house cleaning, ironing, and general maintenance. No longer did I seem to care what we were having for supper. No longer did I care if the house was straight or had that "lived in" look. The general maintenance of the house took second place to scrapbooking and painting rooms and searching through drawers, looking for things I forgot I had. Don't you find digging through stored boxes therapeutic?

Guy has built-in time to alert him to meal time

At first, he didn't say much about his lack of supper on the table. Almost every night of our married life, he has begun to twitch around 5:30 and look longingly into the cold kitchen. I don't have a built in timer for meals like he does. When we travel, the car pulls off to a restaurant at precisely 5:30. The joke in my family is that if you want to have a good time, just be sure Dad is fed on time. Even after forty years, his favorite words are, "What are we going to eat?" I used to say, "What do you want tonight?" Now my new reply is, "I don't know."

I did not become complacent until after our children were gone. As long as they were home, I cooked meals. We ate meat and vegetables almost every night. I have cooked enough chicken and roasts to feed the county. I wasn't always allergic to the stove.

Allergy is worse at Thanksgiving time

Sometimes the allergy is worse than others. This Thanksgiving, I cooked for thirteen people. We had the full spread that day. Did I enjoy cooking? Not really, but sometimes you want to break bread with those you love and somebody has to cook the bread.

A near truth: spouse's claim the only time I cook is when kids come home

Guy loves to tell others that the only time I cook is when the kids come home and we might as well sell the stove. That is just about the truth. I feel that the two of us can eat out and save money. He eats well when he is on the road with his job; steaks or whatever he wants. It's not like he suffers from malnutrition.

Friends seem to suffer from the same malady

We have a pattern and I've noticed others in this town do too because we keep running into the same couples. Evidently, these women also suffer from stove allergies. One night we're all at the Mexican Restaurant; one night at China One. One night at Subway; another at the Pizza Hut or RJ's. There's the Bel-Air and the Lighthouse too. We make jokes about not cooking and our spouses make jokes about our not cooking and we vow to meet again the next night somewhere else.

Going to the grocery store is high on my lists of things she doesn't like to do

The cooking wouldn't be quite so dreadful if my cabinets were stocked with food and everything I needed to prepare a meal. Going to the grocery store is high on my lists of things I don't like to do. Why this annoys me I don't understand because I always see people I know and we chat. It isn't painful, but it is taxing. If I made a list before I went, I might not be back tracking through aisles, looking for what I forgot to get in aisle one when I'm in aisle three. I'm drawn to the same foods, over and over. A roast, a package of chicken, a package of hamburger meat, etc, etc. Maybe I need to be more creative and look up new recipes. Guy is not much for change.

Wishes for cook. She enjoys home-cooked meals, just doesn't want to cook them

At this time of my life, I wish I had a cook. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have someone prepare delicious, healthy meals and clean up afterwards? I enjoy home cooked meals; I just don't want to cook them. Call me lazy. Won't hurt my feelings. I do sometimes feel guilty and think I shouldn't be such a self-centered person and get back in that kitchen and cook whether I want to or not because that is what a woman is supposed to do. Isn't that why we're on this earth? To cook, clean, and iron? I would, you know, but all that wheezing and coughing. - Carol Perkins


Carol Perkins, the columnist, is author of several books, co-host of the radio show "Susan & Carol Unscripted," live Tuesdays at 10amCT on the Hoss, 99.1 FM, and is owner of Main Street Screenprinting, 601 S Main Street, Edmonton, KY. Phone 270-432-3152 or 270-670-4913.


This story was posted on 2014-04-28 05:20:04
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