Dating is such a bizarre process. Especially in the beginning. You’ve got the back and forth. The yin and yang. The boundary drawing. The figuring out whose turf is whose. These, of course, are the unspoken sub-parts of the lovey-dovey-pitter-patter-eyelash-batting-touchy-feely-tingly stuff. They may be unspoken, but they are most definitely a real and tangible part of dating. My wonderful husband and I went through all of these years ago as we began the ritual we all call dating.
Very early on, Paul was enthralled by the fact that I cooked for my family, as well as my sister’s, nearly every night. As I was chopping, mincing, dicing, and shredding, I could see him out of the corner of my eye – a small, but very discernible smile on his face as he watched. Cooking was my thing, and the kitchen was my domain. Well, apparently ribs are his. Thus, we encountered our first “my territory, his territory” event. Super Bowl was quickly approaching and we were having a huge family/football gathering. So Paul (wonderful, thoughtful, guy that he is) suggested that since I’m always cooking for everyone, how about if he takes over on Super Bowl and makes ribs for everyone? Uh… what? My hands broke into a cold sweat. My heart started beating faster, and my vision got a little blurry. The kitchen is my terrain. My jurisdiction. My domain. So, while I was really thinking not a chance! You’ve gotta be kidding me if you think you can pull off making delicious meaty, sticky, savory, fall-off-the-bone ribs for 25 people! Wow….! I have no idea what to say, I looked at him lovingly in the eye and told him that would be fantastic! I can’t wait! (You do things like that when you’re dating…)
Then came THE day. Super Bowl. We got to my sister’s early (duh… ribs take like forever to make properly). I immediately gave my sister the look. You know the one… the one that only sisters who are as close as twins and can read each other’s minds can give. She knew something was up. She and I quietly slipped outside (while Paul was prepping the ribs). I told her what had happened, and that I was really sorry, but the ribs probably wouldn’t turn out, and that there’s nothing I can do about it, and that I’ll run to KFC to buy some fried chicken if I have to, but that Paul really wanted to make the ribs, and I just couldn’t say no. He was SO excited about it. And there he was… meticulously putting on the dry rub, wrapping them in plastic wrap to “rest” for a few hours, putting them on the baking sheets, carefully slathering them with his homemade sauce, tenting them lovingly with foil. And in they went. Every half hour he would tend to his ribs. More sauce, more tenting, then back in. And every half hour I would peek over his shoulder to see what was going on. What exactly I was dealing with. And every half hour I’d sneak outside and report to my sister no… I don’t think this is going to work. They look terrible! And she would reassure me, like awesome sisters do, that it would all be okay. Everything would be fine, even if we needed to get KFC.
And then something magical happened at the three hour mark. Paul carefully pulled back the foil, and I saw that same barely-discernible grin on his face. They were beautiful! They were perfect! All was good with the world. They were honestly the most delicious, moist, fall-off-the bone ribs I’d ever eaten! And something else magical happened. I actually learned how to give up control (sometimes), let other people do what matters to them, and have some faith and trust in how it’s all going to turn out. At that point in my life, that really was magical. So if you’re looking for a fail-proof, delicious, tender, sweet/savory/with a little kick way to get your ribs on (and maybe have a bit of a magical experience), you’ve found it! These really are amazing!