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Paging Al Dente to the kitchen area

I call him a lot of different names, which makes him a man of many monikers.

Better Half.

Ki (rhymes with hi and sigh, not key).

Don.

Al Dente.

Mr. Wonderful.

You’re Something Else.

Sweetums.

Papa Bear.

The Voice of Reason.

The Egg Man.

Mr. Know It All.

Barn Boy.

And the list goes on and on.

But it’s all the same guy — my dear, broad-shouldered, long-suffering husband, who wears as many different hats as he has names.

That one person can go by so many different identity tags became evident to me once again when I was cooking pasta the other evening for dinner.

Please refrain from being impressed by this food-fixing admission.

There was no homemade sauce involved here, and I was merely standing stoveside, keeping an impatient vigil over a pot of penne noodles that had been boiling for what seemed like a long, long time.

I was stirring the pot — in more ways than one, probably — assuming my usual indecisive role of “Are these things done yet? Maybe, yes, no, not yet?” Who can tell.

Yes, I can taste test them and, yes, I can never be entirely sure.

I angst over all kitchen-related decisions.

Time for an expert opinion.

“Oh, Al,” I called ever so sweetly, musically, the way the wife Peg would summon her husband Al in the “Married With Children” TV sitcom.

No response.

I called for “Al” again, looking directly at my husband who faithful readers of this column know to be Better Half, not his real name, Don, or his nickname, Ki, bestowed upon him decades ago when a newspaper carrier to his childhood home had trouble pronouncing “Kiaski” (imagine that) and called him “Ki” instead.

No response again.

“Mr. Dente!” I said, with a little more volume, a little more urgency. “Paging Mr. Al Dente! Please report to the kitchen area immediately! Emergency!”

He got the hint this time, looking up from the kitchen table where he probably hoped that dinner would be served at some point.

Better Half, aka Mr. Al Dente, advocates pasta being cooked until it’s al dente, so I figure he should decide if the penne is ready to advance to the colander, then the plate.

Mr. Al Dente issued a ruling. Dinner was ready.

I summon my husband when I’m making deviled eggs or boiling them or buying them for that matter.

After all, he is Egg Man.

He helps me decide when the eggs have boiled long enough (i.e., they haven’t exploded); if the deviled egg filling has enough of the right stuff in it; and if the eggs are purchase-worthy to begin with — not cracking up like his wife.

I assure him he’s Something Else because he often is, when he reads my mind or anticipates my questions.

That doesn’t make him Mr. Know It All, a name reserved for when he’s right, and I’m not. I hate when that happens.

Generally, he’s Mr. Wonderful, and that’s not just because he folds laundry, makes me happy and knows when the penne’s perfect.

He’s always helpful, hence the name Barn Boy, who’s ever ready to assist in the care of our equine family.

And that’s no horse manure.

He is a good man to have around … whatever his name is.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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