Minivan Momologues
Illustration by David Fitzsimmons / Arizona Daily Star

First, a proclamation:

Hear ye! hear ye!

Oh wait, make that: Read ye! Read ye!

Whereas this is the 19th of June and the officially Hallmark-sanctioned Day of the Father, I shall heretofore refrain from publicly mocking my husband. Also, I am kinda tired of angry reader phone calls (from my mom) saying that I am too mean to him. So, behold, the Kind-to-the-Spouse Column.

(Note to Joe: You do realize this is your Father’s Day gift, right?)

Without further ado, I bring on the nice.

So, I am the executive chef in the house. Part of it is default — I’m the only one who knows where stuff is in the kitchen. Heck, I’m the only one who knows where the kitchen is. Hang on, hang on. The nice part is coming, promise.

I really don’t mind cooking, though. Weird but true, I find it rather therapeutic. I’ll tackle fairly labor-intensive eats like Carolina pulled pork, coated in a gently spicy rub, that smokes for half a day or — after realizing I have three hours to kill on a freakishly early Saturday morning before anyone other than hyper, insomniac Dog No. 3 is awake — bake pillow-y cinnamon rolls, gooey with melted butter and cinnamon and slathered in vanilla-spiked, cream-cheese frosting. The kids might muster up a “This is pretty good” but the compliments are nowhere near what their father gets when he volunteers for KP duty, which is typically Mother’s Day.

Once, it was takeout pizza, a little cheat-y perhaps but still a legit break and one that was well-received from the kids.

“I love when Dad cooks!” No. 3 smirked, digging into a slice.

The past few years, though, the backup chef has gone all Bobby Flay on us, kicking things up a notch way above Papa John’s. Last year, he grilled gourmet burgers.

The kids swooned. SWOONED over those hamburgers. They posted Yelp reviews:

Papa Joe’s House of Supreme Deliciousness

No. 1 said:

“These are soooo good!”

No. 2 said:

“That was so good. Can you cook dinner every night?”

No. 3 said:

“These are the best burgers. They’re almost like Smashburgers. My only critique is that you need to start cooking earlier.”

This year, Chef Dad pulled out all the stops and revisited a chicken potpie recipe he made 20* years ago, before we had kids and back when we equally split cooking duties. Sure, I still had to serve in an advisory capacity, pointing out where the rolling pin is kept, demonstrating how to use a pastry blender and explaining that the mysterious “c” in the recipe stands for “cup,” but he did it. He spent two days shopping for and then making the potpie with special-ordered Nueske’s peppered bacon in the flaky crust that had to chill in the fridge overnight.

He received deservedly rave reviews and — the ultimate compliment — his mom asked for the recipe.

It was such a wonderfully nice gesture that I don’t even mind that I’ve been unable to find half my kitchen utensils since they entered the dad-cooked-dinner relocation program.

* What I wanted to write here was “revisited a chicken potpie recipe he made 20 years ago, back when he still wanted to try and impress me,” but that would have totally violated the proclamation and so I didn’t.

Contact Kristen Cook at or 573-4194. On Twitter: @kcookski