Blend It Like Beckham
Sometimes it’s hard to find another married couple with whom you can relate, but as you can clearly see, the Professor and I have a lot in common with Victoria and David Beckham. He’s arguably one of the most famous soccer players in history, she, the world’s most under-nourished former pop star. So there’s that, of course.
Plus, not everyone looks good in hats. Much less are there couples who can pull it off at the same time.
Now, the Beckhams moved from England to LA and struggle to blend in in America all the while parenting four kids and juggling hectic travel schedules.
Meanwhile, the Professor and I married later in life and are a veritable case study in blending worlds. I was 40 when we married with an 11-year old daughter. He was 48 and had never been married. We had to merge my single-parent, writer-mentality with his bachelor, uber responsible business-owner lifestyle. We are a modern blended family, co-parenting with Little Chick’s father along with his new wife and her daughter.
On top of that, we are a geographical fusion, commuting between my hometown of Austin TX and the Professor’s hometown of Mobile AL. We raise Little Chick in Austin but the Professor’s business is in Mobile so when Little Chick is with her dad, we spend time there as well. It’s a scheduling challenge that would bring air traffic controllers at JFK to their knees.
In addition to mixing regional cultures, family traditions, personal habits and daily schedules, we have also had to learn to blend our home decor “styles”.
Ahem. I am going to tread lightly here as this has been the source of a spot of friction in our young marriage. Let me just say…the Professor has lived in his house for 18 years and is very particular. Lucky for me he has already invested in some truly gorgeous antique furniture. (Special thanks to the influence of his mother and sisters, thank you!)
But his look is unwavering where as I like to mix it up and get eclectic. He likes super traditional, early Americana, darker colors, and harbors a deep bachelor-commitment to hunter green. Yet I lean more toward lacquered white furniture, bright bold fabrics, mirrored tables…well, you get the picture.
I won’t get into the details but we are at a complete standstill over one accessory in his our house. This relatively small item is actually pretty benign, it just seems outdated to me. Unfortunately he absolutely loves it. I move it away, he moves it back. To him it has come to symbolize one area he doesn’t want to change, plus he says it is a valuable piece, high quality. I see that point, it is nice and all, but I say no matter how much it costs it doesn’t have value to me if it makes me feel like I am part of the tour at Colonial Williamsburg and need to don a bonnet and work at a spindle.
To be fair he had a violent reaction against some of the paint color “risks” I had taken in my our Austin house. (Okay, so maybe that particular shade of lavender wasn’t the best wall color for the kitchen after all, I’ll give him that.)
But in the spirit of compromise and turning his house into our home, he graciously suggested that we redo the kitchen in Alabama. I have to say the planning process has been fun for both of us and we have proved to be a very harmonious team. Turns out we really do have similar taste!
Now it’s time for the real work to begin as we’ve been slaving like maniacs to clean out the cupboards and prepare for the crew to start. Demolition kicked off this morning.
Typically I am the purger in this outfit while my husband likes to save every grease-stained koozie and free ketchup packet that he’s collected through the years. But I did start crying yesterday when the cabinets were getting cleared out and I thought about all the meals we cooked in there while we were dating. We have shared a lot of laughs in this teeny little space over the past four years.
But the nostalgia passes quickly when I think about the new, soon-to-be gorgeous, light-filled kitchen with appliances straight out of the new millennium. Needless to say I have spent hours developing my KITCHEN board on Pinterest.
So in approximately eight short weeks, we will be open for business and hosting the Beckhams for dinner, home-cooked in our new kitchen. I can’t wait! In the spirit of eating and cooking and mixing and blending, I thought I would share links to two recipes that represent both of our hometowns, Mobile and Austin: West Indies Salad and Queso.
On one of my first trips to Alabama, the Professor introduced me to West Indies Salad, a light and delicious crab salad that was invented in Mobile in 1947.
It’s taken a little while but the Professor finally gets that when you eat out in Austin, queso is delivered to your table pretty much right alongside the water. Like venerable Texas cooking blogger Lisa Fain from the Homesick Texan, I grew up making queso with Velveeta and Rotel, but in this recipe Fain puts a more natural twist on this Texmex classic.
Turns out girlfriend Victoria Beckham likes to cook as well, so she’s welcome anytime in my new kitchen to whip up a British delicacy. Wait, do those exist? Doubtful, because in this reality show clip she attempts an all-American apple pie. And also apparently struggles with reading the English language, food hygiene and anger issues. (Cover your private parts Eddie Murphy.)
Okay, so turns out Mrs Beckham can’t cook. Maybe let’s not blend it like her after all. But no worries Vic, when in doubt just add more spice, girl.