Friday, April 22, 2011

Culinary Inspiration

My husband and I got married on April 22, 1989, exactly 22 years ago, today (there are a few wedding pictures here if you're interested).  Our first home was a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs.  We signed a one year lease, and our payments of $375 per month included gas and water.  The only utility we were responsible for was the electric bill which ran about twenty five to thirty dollars each month.  We were both working full time and this was long before we had discovered the (dangerous) joys of credit cards, so we had quite a bit of discretionary income left after paying our bills.  We were less than a mile from a busy shopping area that had dozens and dozens of restaurants offering fine dining to fast food and everything in between.  Sometimes it was just the two of us, other times we went out with friends, but we ate out pretty regularly.

We didn't prepare meals at home often.  The kitchen in our apartment was not exactly a dream kitchen.  It was galley style with very limited cabinet and counter space and no dishwasher.  The refrigerator was a twenty year old, single door model with a tiny freezer that had to be defrosted once a month.  As much as I've always enjoyed cooking and baking, this kitchen did not exactly inspire me. 

This picture is on the website of the apartment complex
we lived in.  The size is the same, but our kitchen
had dark, faux wood cabinets and an older
refrigerator.  What you see is what you get, opposite the
sink is a blank wall. 

It wasn't just the kitchen that made culinary inspiration difficult, there was a lack of places to find inspiration.  We take the internet and food channels on television for granted now, but at the time, you had to rely on cookbooks and magazines for recipes.  Finding the perfect dish was a lot more time consuming.  There was no function to search by ingredient other than the index at the back of the book, and, of course, you had to have the book in the first place.

Eventually, though, we started cooking at home more often.  After a trip to an apple orchard, Mr. W and I had a pie bake-off to see who could make the tastiest apple pie (he won).  Shortly after that we made homemade clover leaf rolls to take to Thanksgiving dinner.  Little by little, we found ways to be creative in that small space.

Fast forward to today and cooking together is one of our favorite things to do.  It's more than just a hobby, it's a passion.  While other couples may have date night and go out for the evening, we enjoy spending our date night in our own kitchen.  It's time spent together, talking, laughing, listening to music and creating food to share with family and friends.  Our efforts are, more often than not, successful, but we've made a few duds along the way.  We made some less than impressive empanadas (really bland) last week and an inedible Pad Thai the week before.  Two bottles of sickeningly sweet homemade Limoncello await a palatable use, as well.  The butterflied lobster tails, Thai shrimp, lemon glazed chicken scallopini, five cheese paninis, and chicken empanadas we've made recently more than make up for all of it, though.

In the very near future, we would like to share our cooking adventures on This Stop Willoughby.  We'll be choosing dishes from random places all over the globe as well as putting our own riff on recipes from chefs right here in the U.S.  They will, likely, be posted on Saturday or Sunday of each week.  We hope to inspire you to cook with someone you love (or a perfect stranger if that's your thing).  I hope you'll join us!


*If you attempt to click on the video for our wedding song in the wedding post I linked, you will find that it is no longer available.  If you would still like to hear the song, you can click here for another youtube video.


Matty said...

I remember your anniversary post of last year too. You and your groom were walking back down the aisle.

I think it's great that the two of you share a common interest. Especially after 22 years. Nothing like cooking up some love in the kitchen.

Happy Anniversary.

Jenn Erickson said...

Su, Happy Anniversary. It was wonderful sharing a "slice" from your early days of marriage. I think it's wonderful the way you and your hubby harmonize in the kitchen, and despite the occasional "dud" as far as flavor is concerned, it sounds like every experience is a successful adventure in together-time.


5thsister said...

Happy anniversary to you and Mr. Willoughby! I think your theme for upcoming blogs is a grand idea...I can't wait to see what you to come up with! Love you!

Tins and Treasures said...

Good evening, and Happy Anniversary! Yes, I remember your photos from last year too!

I'm looking forward to your posts of you and Mr. Willoughby cooking.

Anyway, not sure you know about my Etsy team should stop by and sign up!

Have a blessed Easter. ~Natalie

Purple Flowers said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your husband.
I remember starting out in an apartment that looked very similar to that of yours. It's amazing how much furniture we have collected since then.
Happy Easter to you and your family.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

Happy Anniversary!

Can't wait to see what you to come up with.

Happy Easter!!

B xx

Jenny said...

Happy Anniversary. I liked this story. There is an italian bitter lemon carbonated drink (I've seen it at some gourmet shops here) I wonder if you could mix that with the limoncello!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi Willoughby,
Sorry I'm so late to wish you a wonderful anniversary. I hope you and Mr. Willoughby had a lovely evening and I wish you many, many more happy years together.

I think it's great that you two enjoy cooking together and I look forward to your upcoming posts. My husband has no clue how to cook. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know where the pots and pans are kept-- and I'm not kidding about that.

Cheers, jj