I am not a jerk. I really think so. I am usually a very welcoming, kind, and positive type who loves family gatherings at home and is ready to stay in the kitchen for hours making an elaborate dinner. You are welcome to come and enjoy the food and a conversation on some controversial topics, including but not limited to: who really won WWII, is there friendship between women, and why the villains in Hollywood movies are always Russians. Can I just ask one thing of you? If you come a little early and I am still in the kitchen doing the last preparations, could you, please, NOT help me?
I know you have the best intentions at heart, but with a seemingly simple question “Can I help you with anything?” you put me in a really awkward position of lying in order not to sound rude: “No, thank you, dear, I am almost done here”, while what I really have in mind is more like “Hell no! You are going to cut my onions in all the wrong ways, pour too much olive oil over my salad, and mix my batter counterclockwise instead of clockwise! Stay away!”
See, I don’t want to be mean and unintentionally say it out loud. Sometimes I give in to the most insisting guests and let them do something innocuous like peeling garlic. But even then I keep looking over my shoulder, checking how that garlic peeling process is going: “What are you doing? Who peels garlic like that? Just… just… just give it to me!”
The only way to find your way into my kitchen is unconditional surrender to my rule. No “Hey, what if we cut tomatoes in circles instead of cubes?” or “You know how my mom used to make this?” kind of initiatives are allowed. Be prepared that all the techniques you used in the kitchen before are not relevant, all you get to do is peeling and chopping, and nothing is to be touched unless I explicitly ask you to. Also, don’t stir anything.
The only person allowed to stir whatever it is I am preparing is my husband. And that is because the site of him stirring at the stove, with a look on his face that says “You might have been cooking this for two hours, but it’s my stirring that does the trick” is just too adorable and, therefore, allowed.
And I hope I don’t have to mention that my knife is off limits?
Now, do you really want to be subjected to such abuse in order to look polite when you come for dinner at my place? I thought so. Just relax, eat, drink, chat, and don’t help me cook. And after you DIDN’T help me cook, could you also do me a favor and NOT help me wash the dishes? Not even “just your plate”? I hate it. Thank you. Over and out.