Sunday, June 13, 2010

The first week I was married, I almost had a nervous breakdown. It was not about the 'lifetime commitment thing', the 'living 5 hours from my family for the rest of my life', or even 'there is no room for my clothes in this single, tiny house so I guess I will keep them in my suitcase' was all about the food. Of all of the pressures of newly-weddedness, that to provide meals was the biggest for me. It was self-imposed, of course. My new husband had been surviving for 31 years without a 'little lady' and could have fended for long as you count 'fending' as eating out 2x/day, 7 days a week.:) I knew my way around the kitchen fairly well, it was just the meal planning thing that got to me. It seems like that might have been a good use of Home Ec time in high school, instead of making and delivering 13 dozen cookies to friends in other classes.

Anyway, I laid awake at night thinking about what to serve (dumb, I know) and then what to serve with it. Luckily we received 2,749 cookbooks for shower presents, and I devoted myself to their study.....leafing through them franticly, turning down pages, writing out lists. What goes with what? If I make X, then I'll put Y with it, with a side of Z on the side. then I decided casseroles were definitely the way to go because I had heard men love casseroles, and they were 1 dish with everything in it, 1 recipe instead of 3. I went to the grocery every day, because I would forget some random item or change courses. I spent all day buzzing around this tiny kitchen, chopping, prepping, mixing, cleaning. And then we would have a 9x13 casserole for 2 people, and because I knew my new love hated leftovers, I would toss it! (btw, it horrifies me to admit to this...throwing away Grandma Jo is rolling in her grave!)

Anyway, about 3 days and lots of dollars into my quest for domestic goddessness, my new husband told me, very kindly, that all he really cared about was meats. And if I really wanted to cook at home, some hot meat was all he wanted. Oh, and potatoes. And that's when it began.... my charted course through a lifetime of meal preparation. Roasted meats and potatoes in various forms (I know you health nuts out there are gasping. Relax, I serve veggies and fruits too. It's just that P doesn't eat them.) And creative leftovers of said meats (shhh, don't tell him). Now, I love our meal plans because they allow me to be from recipes and random ingredients. Don't get me wrong, I love a good recipe or random ingredient, I just don't have time at this stage of life to be dallying with that stuff most days of the week.

I tell you all this as a foreword to a grip session, be warned. In our rental house, I have an oven that is so archaic, Betty Draper would turn up her nose. No amount of pounding or marinading will save a piece of meat. Basically, the only thing you can cook in my oven is soup. I had grand plans of a summer of crock-pot meals, but after the 3rd, I decided that no one really wants to eat slow-cooked fare in the 95 degree heat. Neither of my boys 'care for' sandwiches. Only 1 burner of the stovetop works, and there is a questionable exhaust. Also, it's directly under a cabinet, so it seems like a fire hazard (although, those cabinets are classy metal, so I guess I'm safe there. if you missed the sarcasm, check again). I am diabolically opposed to frying, so don't suggest a Fry Daddy.

I am wondering how I'm going to feed 'us' for the next 5 months. I could make it many months with pesto, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and ice cream, but this meal plan did not make it past the board. I would love to hear any suggestions that do not involve a rotisserie chicken or tacos. Or at least your well-wishes that we do not get kicked out of Qdoba by summers end.


Elizabeth Browning said...

Do you have a grill? If not, I have one of those little Quisinart George Foreman type things that I do chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and fish on. It also doubles as panini maker and the griddle plates make the best pancakes.

Alexandra Hoover said...

How do you not 'care for' sandwiches!? Oh my goodness! I do wish you the best of luck with this... I can't think of any suggestions right now, but I'll be sure to pass them along if I do.

(And I agree with you on the Home Ec thing... half the time we just spent it making frozen pizza just because Mrs. Mooney didn't care and the boys just wanted to eat... clearly educational. I still wish college did a day where they brought you fresh cookies mid class. Yum.)

Anonymous said...

If only you still had Calypso...We got take out from on Fri b/c we cause a scene every time we go in and it's getting a little embarassing. Then again, we cause a scene everywhere we go. But I digress. Do you have a Publix/Kroger/Bread & Co with yummy store-made food in the deli section? :)AR

ginaburch said...

I DO have a George Foreman....i just forgot all about it!
The closing of Knoxville's Calypso Cafe was one of the great sadnesses of my life.
I am scared of deli section selections. I don't know why.
I love Mrs Mooney and I would take cookies in her class over craziness in the other class any day:).

Anonymous said...

Once in a while I find myself reading your blog so I have some funny storied of your wonderfully creative writing to share with your Aunt June.

My suggestion is to get over your diabolical opposition to frying, JUST FOR THE SUMMER, and learn to LOVE your Kentucky-kitchen heritage...becoming one with a brand new set of cast iron cookware. Later on you will be proud of yourself for having mastered the art of frying chicken, pork chops, chicken fried steak, beer-batter fish, bacon and eggs with hashed browns, and even, possibly, one stove-top cake (if you get a Dutch-Oven (cookbook). Acquiesce, dearheart. Acquiesce.