In the weeks leading up to our wedding, I found myself gravitating toward articles dealing with advice for having a long-lasting marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I have no interest in the arbitrary marker of time-spent as the only indicator of “success.” Just because two people have been married for decades does not necessarily mean they had a successful marriage. But the thought of getting it right the first time and in finding out at the end of that long road that Mr. Foodie and I “got lucky” holds a massive appeal for me. And like the academic, type-A person I am, I figured I should “study” for it lol
One piece of controversial advice that stood out was how to deal with household chores. Let’s start with the assumption that you don’t have a strict gender-based division of household duties. Where do you go from there? Some suggest that you divide up all tasks equally to avoid unequal distribution of chores — the idea being that both partners contribute equally to the household for a more balanced relationship. While the regimental nature of this proposal appeals to my personality, I can also see where it might fall short of its potential for marital harmony. This is why I was pleased to find a counter-suggestion which is that both partners should do all the chores. While this might seem strange to implement in reality, I realized that Mr. Foodie and I have been doing this all along. We both wash dishes. We both fold laundry (but I do bathroom towels better ;)). We both cook. We both change light bulbs and take out the trash. Essentially, we do the things that need doing and *usually* within a practical time frame. Now that I’m mulling it over, it makes no sense that I should have to stand around stamping my feet, waiting for John to change a light bulb when I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself. Similarly, he should not have to wait on me to cook when he’s hungry. A lot of tasks we do together. He takes the trash out, but I replace the liner. I load the dishwasher, and he empties it. And, as you know, dear readers, we love cooking together :).
The real reason I like this piece of advice is it prevents a lot of built-up resentment. I could picture myself passive-aggressively staring at a pile of unfolded laundry waiting to be folded because it isn’t “my” chore to do, but I still want it done. I think whatever your system is, if it is coming from a place of profound consideration for your partner and the home you share, then you’re doing the right thing. Mr. Foodie doesn’t pack my lunch every morning because I can’t do it myself or because I expect him to do it, but because he loves me and wants to make sure I don’t run out of the house without things I need to make my day go smoothly. Being considerate is just plain nice as well as, I suspect, a key ingredient to a long-lasting marriage. Check back with me in 50 years and I’ll let you know ;).
Last night’s dinner was definitely a team-effort. As part of my attempt to meal plan, stay on budget, create healthy dinners, use what we have, use our awesome kitchen wedding gifts, and come up with at least one new recipe a week (don’t worry, Mr. Foodie helps me with all that, too), I found several recipes for Crockpot BBQ pork chops. Chops are not necessarily the best cut of pork for traditional bbq recipes for obvious reasons, but it is what we had in the freezer. Luckily, we were gifted this beautiful new crockpot as a wedding gift from a family friend. Our old crockpot was one of those 60s slime-green ones with a knob pointing to “high” or “low.” Needless to say it wasn’t a great tool for what we all want in a crockpot – the ability to have it turn on and off at specific times. This one even has a locking lid and the option to have a paddle “turn” the contents of the crockpot at regular intervals (for stews and soups). We feel so SPOILED 🙂
Mr. Foodie has been making BBQ sauces his whole life, so I left that part to him. If you want to make it easier, just find a bottle sauce and pour the whole thing over this dish. My addition to the recipe was the sweet potato medallions. I was a little afraid that they would make the dish too sweet, but I shouldn’t have worried – it came out fantastic! Mr. Foodie’s sauce worked so well with the SPs and the pork. As you know, bbq sauces can have vastly different flavor profiles. Mr. Foodie’s was high on the vinegar with a slight kick from the addition of hot sauce – a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the potatoes and the ketchup/brown sugar mixture. The chops shredded easily with a fork, and the onions were cooked into the sauce just perfectly. You can serve it with corn bread or texas toast, but we ate it plain like a stew. We both had seconds – it was so good!
As a special treat, Mr. Foodie made our now-famous Key Lime Pie, but instead of one big pie, he made mini-pies! The filling is the same amount, but you can buy these little mini shells in the baking aisle.
Crockpot BBQ Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes
4 Pork Chops (if bone-in, cook for longer)
1 Bottle of BBQ Sauce of Choice (or see generic bbq recipe here – feel free to add stuff to make it yours!)
1 medium yellow or white onion, sliced into rings or half-moons
2 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled, diced or sliced into medallions
Layer the sweet potato slices on the bottom of the crockpot. Cover these with the sliced onion rings. Over these, place the four pork chops. Over all, pour the bottle (or homemade mixture) of BBQ sauce. Cook High for 3 hours or Low for 6 hours (we did low for 6 – this might have an effect on the texture of the chop – ours was perfect!).
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