I love that I married a man who loves to cook. Sure, it can be intimidating at times, but for the most part, I just get to enjoy delicious food. Tony puts a lot of thought into what he makes, and as a perfectionistic artist, he’s hoping each dish turns out better than the last. It can be thrilling when he makes something for the first time– he’s excited and wants to get it just exactly right.
Last week he came home from work with an idea and all of the ingredients to make Chicken Piccata. He served it over his incredible mashed potatoes with some perfectly prepared asparagus. I enjoyed it with a glass of Pinot Grigio and was just in heaven with every bite. I was nearly done with my dinner before it occurred to me to say, “Seriously, babe. This is incredible! What inspired you to make this tonight?”
He shared, “Well, I was at work today and they had Chicken Piccata as a special in the cafe. I thought to myself, ‘If Honey were here, that’s what she’d get,’ so I ordered it. It was okay, but I was sure I could make it better if I tried. I figured, since it’s one of your favorite dishes to eat at a restaurant, I should learn to make it for you myself.”
We Yearn to be Known
Mouth full of food, I was speechless. I guess I do order Chicken Piccata a lot. I guess it is one of my favorite dishes. But, if someone would have asked me about my favorite food, Chicken Piccata would not have immediately come to my mind. I sat stunned that he was so silently perceptive about the things I enjoy. I mean, he thought of me at work? He looked up recipes? He went to the grocery store on a mission and was meticulous about making this meal perfect. It was an otherwise ordinary Tuesday night at home, and he didn’t wait for some special occasion to blow me away with his creation. He knows me and he loves me and it motivates him to do things like figure out how to make something that I would enjoy.
One of the core longings of all human beings is to be known. There is something inside of each of us that yearns for others to really understand us. Paying attention, truly studying for the sake of understanding someone else, is one of the greatest ways you can love them. Did I feel loved when he made dinner? Absolutely! I always do! Did I feel extra loved once I understood the motivation behind it? You bet! It is precisely this kind of knowing that keeps couples together for the long journey of marriage.
In their research, Drs. John & Julie Gottman, along with their colleagues, have found that emotionally intelligent couples are intimately familiar with each other’s world. They remember the major events in each other’s history, and they keep updating what they know about their spouse as the facts and feelings of each other’s world changes. They know each other’s goals in life, each other’s worries, each other’s hopes.
Gottman and his team refer to the purposeful choice these couples make to know each other in detailed ways as their “Love Maps.” Without learning the details, you can’t really know your spouse. And if you don’t really know someone, how can you truly love them? From knowledge springs not only love, but the strength and foundation to weather marital storms.
How well would you say you know your spouse and their inner thought life? How well would you say they know yours? Would you know, without asking them, what they love about their job? Could you name their favorite relative (besides you, of course)? If you were to make a quick stop at Ben & Jerry’s, would you be able to pick up their favorite flavor without calling them first? Do you know if they had a bedtime routine when they were a child or a curfew when they were a teenager? These sorts of details can seem trivial, but they make up the person you married. Knowing what is going on inside of them, what motivates them in the grand plans of life as well as their everyday choices, builds trust, intimacy, and friendship.
In case you would also say, “Hey! My husband’s/wife’s favorite thing to order at a restaurant is Chicken Piccata, too!” Tony has generously decided to share his recipe below. So, whether it’s discovering and learning to make their favorite meal, or making a playlist of some of their favorite songs, make sure you are constantly on the hunt to know your spouse better today than you did yesterday. Building up a detailed “Love Map” will help grow the love you already have and solidify your friendship so you can #staymarried.
Tony’s Chicken Piccata
2 chicken breasts
6-ish tbl. butter
5-ish tbl. olive oil
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. capers (rinsed)
1/3 c. italian parsley (chopped)
1. Butterfly and half the chicken breasts, salt and pepper both sides.
2. Put the chicken in a gallon bag with flour and shake and coat. Remove from bag and shake all loose flour off. Set aside.
3. On (just above) medium heat, add 3 tbl. butter and 3 tbl. olive oil to saute pan. Once slightly brown, add two pieces of chicken. 3 minutes later, flip. 3 minutes later remove chicken and add more butter and olive oil. Finish remaining chicken in same manner. Remove chicken.
4. In the same pan add the lemon juice, stock, and capers. Once incorporated (scraping up bits from pan) put the chicken back in the pan.
5. Tipping the pan slightly toward you, chicken on far side of pan, use a spoon to dredge sauce atop the chicken. A few minutes of that then you can plate.
6. I put mine on homemade mashed potatoes with grilled asparagus on the side. A little more sauce on top and plate, sprinkle with parsley and EAT IT!
You are reading You Had Me at “Chicken Piccata”, a #staymarried blog. If you liked this post, you may also like to read Brown Butter Farfalle – A Quick Recipe to Win His Heart. If you think these could benefit someone else’s marriage or meal-planning, please consider sharing. You can also feel free to pin the images above if you like.
Thanks for stopping by!
~ Tony & Michelle