My Husband likes food. He loves to go to new restaurants and try new things. He really loves things that are smoked. Now, we live in an apartment with no outdoor access, so smoking food is not the easiest thing for us, but one day we were out and saw an indoor, stovetop smoker, and an idea was born: Husband said, next time I needed to buy him a gift, that was what he wanted.
Now, when Husband says that he wants something material, I usually get it, because he really doesn’t covet much. But an indoor, stovetop smoker? I smell more than cedar chips. See, Husband is not great at reading directions, and putting those directions into actions.
I told him “Here’s the deal. I don’t want to smoke meats. I don’t really like smoked meats. This is not a hobby I want to pursue. So if I get you a smoker, it’s all on you. You learn how to do it, and you’re responsible for it.” He said “of course.”
So I bought him a smoker for the December holiday season. And January rolled around and he kept saying “We should break out the smoker” and I would ignore the use of the word “we”, and tell him he was free to use it anytime he wished. And the smoker sat untouched for January.
February strolled in and he said, “Let’s smoke salmon today.” And I went into the cabinet where I had put the box containing the smoker and handed it to him. “Have Fun” I said.
“Can you help?”
“When I bought this for you, I specifically told you that this was not a hobby I chose to pursue.”
“But I don’t know what to do?” (he was whining by now)
“Guess what? Neither do I.”
“Yeah, but you know how to read instructions”
And all I could think was , yup, this man has two masters degrees. “I have faith in you.” I said.
Which led to more whining. So I said, “Here’s the deal. I will stand next to you while you do it.”
“If you do it once, I’ll get how it’s done.”
My frustration level was at about 1000. This is not something I had any interest in doing, but how much of a fight was this worth?
I read over the really simple instructions for making smoked salmon. I told him how easy the process was.
Whining by him.
So I stood next to him in the kitchen, reading him the instructions as if he was a three year old with finger paints (because yes, that is the level of complexity- finger painting)
And the meal turned out fine, if you like smoked salmon, which I don’t. But anyway.
The other day he wanted to make smoked chicken thighs. I said optimistically “You remember how to do it?”
”Just help me one more time. Then I’ll know it.” He said.
”Place wood chips in small pile in center of smoker. Place piece of Tin foil on top. Put rack atop that. Add chicken thighs. Close cover. Put on stove on medium” I said, from memory.
”Wait, what?” He said.
The smoker may end up in the donation pile.