What Do Therapy and Cooking Have In Common?


Moroccan Chicken tagine with Olives
Moroccan Chicken tagine with Olives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a shocker of a week in Dysfunctionality House. It’s funny how something as simple as fusing the toaster on Monday morning, (which tripped the electrical switch so that I couldn’t get out of the garage to go to work), could set off such a chain of unfortunate events.



I feel as though someone has kicked me in the proverbial bollocks.



Two things were preying on my mind after that auspicious start to the week: the first was the latest in our family therapy sessions aimed to help Kurt manage his personality ADHD and behavior, and the second was finding anything something I could cook for some friends (yes, I did say ‘friends’) of the old man’s from work, who are coming to dinner in a few weeks time.



As you may have discovered via this blog, cooking is not my forte, so the dinner party is frankly causing me to piss my pants in fear.



As it turns out, ‘therapy’ and marriage are not my forte either.



I have tried to approach family therapy with a positive and responsible attitude and not see it as another example of my failure as a parent. Nevertheless, I remain a little distrusting of the process. But where I may need some convincing, the old man and Kurt are downright scathing, so what happens during our meetings is that I end up doing what I always do in situations where the old man refuses to play ball (and I feel exposed), which is to ‘fill’ for him.



Basically, I TALK while Kurt (supposedly the recipient of the therapy) sits there like any other grumpy teenager, aided and abetted by his sidekick and the class clown, the old man; who attempts to unhinge me every step of the way, without actually contributing anything to the conversation.



The new catchphrase of the moment in our house is ‘and how does that make you feel?’ because this is what the therapist constantly probes Kurt and the old man with, again and again, in an effort to draw them out.



Luckily for them, if there is one thing I am an Olympian at, it is talking.



Particularly when I’m nervous.



Towards the end of this week’s session, after I had released every skeleton from every cupboard in our house and the therapist caught the old man sniggering surreptitiously at Kurt, she put her pencil down sharply and said, ‘ before we go any further, I think we need to address the elephant in the room.’



Both boys immediately looked straight at me and I could see a ‘fat’ joke hatching. If the old man had been given a stage and a mike at that point he might of actually responded, ‘ I take offence at you talking about my wife like that…’, but fortunately some level of maturity prevailed and he managed to control his juvenile instincts for once.



Kurt was dismissed from the room and the therapist then proceeded to ask us about the ‘elephant’, which turned out to be our marriage.



Like we don’t have enough to worry about.



So my state of mind was not as it should have been as I approached the kitchen afterwards to try out my Chicken Tagine recipe in preparation for the big night. Luckily, I had managed to organize a dry run with some guinea pigs old friends on Saturday night. It should have been easy – I mean, I’d stolen my whole menu from a friend’s dinner party a few weeks before.



But you know when you’re just not feelin it? The old man kept pacing behind me and seemed about as nervous about the outcome as I was, which only added to the pressure. Nevertheless, I chopped and I diced, I stirred and I poured and I held my breath, and as usual my culinary skills didn’t disappoint. The end result did resemble a chicken tagine, but when I did the Masterchef taste test, my tagine had less flavour than plain boiled chicken.



I still don’t know WTF happened to all those spices I poured in.



At the end of the evening, when our friends suggested sending over alternative tagine recipes, I knew that the dish was as the old man generally describes my cooking, ‘edible, but not quite right.’



It seems that neither my marriage nor my cooking are ‘quite right.’



Well, tomorrow is the start of another week, we have a new toaster and I’ve left the garage door open.

All idiot-proof Chicken Tagine recipes for Dummies most welcome!



6 thoughts on “What Do Therapy and Cooking Have In Common?

  1. I vote for Costco or some other similar source too (or beg a friend who is a good cook… I’d do it for you, but I am a bit far away here in Colorado, USA.) The point of entertaining is to get together and have a good time, not to showcase your cooking skills or lack thereof. Find a place you like the cooking of and order in. Do a simple dessert like vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce… who doesn’t like that? Have a simple green salad on the side if you like; buy it bagged at the grocery store. Either dress the salad in the kitchen with something everyone will like, or pour bottled dressing out into a container fit for the table and serve that way. Have lots of pretty good wine yourself and serve same to others, nobody will notice anything bad about the cooking if you are relaxed and having a good time and if they have plenty of wine 😉

    As to the therapist… are you mandated to have therapy for some reason that aids the overall betterment of your life? If not, why ever would you go to someone who is so inept at navigating professional therapeutic relationships that she has to blame your marriage for her inability to engage your husband and your son? Please tell me you are not paying money for this outrage?

    I love your writing. You are so funny and insightful. I have enjoyed every post since I stumbled across your blog (including this one.) But this one, in addition to being quite funny, hurt my heart and made me wish for the magick wand to wave and fix it for you.

    Oh, BTW, you might try homeopathy for Young Master ADHD. It has a very good track record in the hands of trained professionals. See any book or other resource by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman.


    1. Thanks so much for your comment and your suggestions. I think you’re right, simplicity is the key, with cooking and ordinarily I would rely on my fabulous personality and not he food. But work colleagues adds another dimension! Euggghhhhh!
      I think you may have hit the nail on the head about the therapist too and we have decided to give her one more go before we call it quits and rely on our wits as we’ve done for the past 16 years.


      1. Finding a good therapist is as difficult as finding a good spouse (and we all know how difficult that is, lol, 😛 ) If you have reason to think therapy is a good idea, don’t give up at one, try a few (sorry.) You might look for a therapist who is a homeopath too, psychology and homeopathy go hand in hand quite nicely. Especially Jungian bent therapists love homeopathy. You could back in to it by contacting Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman (she and her husband have a big website, just google) and see if any of her Australian students are also therapists, psychologists, etc. BTW there’s a huge crowd of perfectly excellent Australian homeopaths and homeopathy teachers, I recommend JRU because she and her husband have long pioneered the treatment of ADHD and similar via homeopathy. That and her seminars are not cheap, so her students are probably fairly successful.

        Don’t let the work colleague thing throw you… maybe upgrade the wine and other alcohols. Meet then at the door with a drink, then get them smashed on fine wine and liquors and they won’t remember the food :))) Seriously, concentrate on being relaxed and being your funny self. You can’t lose, you have some serious humor going on. You can do it!

        Oh, and just BTW: If you decide to fly by your wits, I am betting on you… you have an abundance of wit! 🙂


      2. Thank you so much for taking the time to give me so much to think about. You’re definitely right about getting the work colleagues plastered and if truth be told, I don’t really give a shit what they think of my food.
        My son is a little more complex but interestingly we did try homeopathy when he was younger for allergy issues. I am growing tired of going from one thing to the next – sometimes I think just take him off all the meds and let him be. Its trying to get him to be at one with society that’s hard. Some people just don’t fit in that well and it spits them out instead of helping them.


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