Free-Floating Hostility

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I am a Domestic God

The work/football schedule dictates that we are staying in town for Thanksgiving this year. So instead of gorging on turkey in New Paltz, we're using the weekend to test drive recipes for Christmas week. Fritz, Queenie, Trixie and Ricardo are coming and that army generally requires careful feeding and watering. The real news here is that I'll be doing some of the cooking this year, which will come as a shock to those readers who have lived with me.

I've developed, cultivated some would say, a reputation of helplessness in the kitchen. But the truth is, I've never really seen the point of cooking anything elaborate just for myself. Slowly, though, my views are changing. During the diet, I came home for lunch most days and made myself sandwiches and such to my own specifications. And in the summer of 2004, when Anna was in New York for eight weeks, I developed consistent a repetoire of meat dishes
  • Sausage a la Annies: Sausage fried in oil atop a bed of Annie's Mac-and-Cheese (white cheddar, although the orange kind will do in a pinch).
  • Sesame hot dog: Cut up bits of Nathans hot dog fried in sesame oil
  • Horseradish burger: Ground beef with horseradish rubbed on it for flavor.
  • Italian Fried Chicken: This dish often turned into Italian Fried Chicken nuggets and I made the pieces smaller and smaller in order to make sure they cooked through and didn't burn.
It's fairly horrifying, I realize. But I think you can see two competing impulses, the one where I vow not to eat Indian takeaway every single night and the other procure a ready dinner (no matter the quality) quickly, generally in the 15-minute halftime of a Pistons playoff game.

These days I'm mostly a vegetarian chef. Anna's commute from Berkeley often runs into dinner time, so if I want something more subtantive than Grape Nuts, I have to cook it myself. And mostly I'm whipping up meals to share before we start doing homework. I'm close to perfecting a Carbonera with Morningstar Farms bacon instead of real pigfat. Also my dinner omelettes have earned positive reviews. So this is good news, especially for Fritz, who has often wondered where his childrearing when wrong with me. Now, if I can only avoid poisoning our parents as I work some meat into the Pasta with Caramelized Onions recipe, it will be a sucessful Christmas.

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