Things That Go Together
Even though we have an empty nest, some things haven’t changed much. I still think about food—a lot.
I guess when you spend 20+ years planning breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for other humans, it’s a hard habit to break. The food I think about these days is a little different. For years, at our house dinners consisted of a rotating weekly menu of tacos, spaghetti, pizza, and chicken nuggets. I think I told you, but just in case it slipped your mind, these days we aren’t eating meat. My husband likes to say we’ve gone plant based, but that’s not really true. We do eat a lot of vegetables, but we also eat seafood with almost every dinner, and beef and poultry on occasion.
It’s a nice goal, plant-based eating, but there are some meals that demand meat! What is Thanksgiving without the roasted turkey? Or Easter Sunday without the glazed ham? I don’t make the Easter ham myself. I tried it once or twice but it just wasn’t as good as the glazed ham from the Honey Baked Ham store. They make it with that delicious crunchy honey glaze and give it the perfect spiral slice. I do have a wonderful recipe for standing rib roast that I’ve made every year for Christmas Eve. I’m just not going to give that up.
So, I’m experimenting in the kitchen, which is fun. One discovery I’ve made . . . seafood and vegetables cook fast! Just three minutes per side and your fillet or grilled shrimp are done. That is once I get the recipe down pat, there is time lost when trying out a brand-new recipe. I’ll have to add a disclaimer. Not everything we’ve tried has been a “clapper.” That’s what my husband says when he likes the dinner, “That was a clapper,” he’ll say, and I happily accept the kudos. When he just nods or grunts, I mark the recipe as “not a clapper.”
There are bound to be menu items I like that he doesn’t, and vice versa. We are two people, with different likes and dislikes, of course.
I like coconut curry, He doesn’t. Crazy, I know. Go figure. Coconut curry is delicious. I pair the creamy coconut with a spicy curry that smothers al dente red peppers, broccoli, and tender shrimp. This recipe works well using shrimp in place of chicken. Some recipes don’t. He likes linguine with clam sauce; I don’t. For one thing, that massive bowl of linguine is swimming with simple carbs and calories. If I’m going to eat a lot of simple carbs and calories, give me a piece of cake! And I’m not even going to mention that the clams always seem too chewy . . . gross.
Then there are his reactions, which confound me. Take fish tacos. Beef tacos have been part of our dinner repertoire for years . . . I know tacos are a “clapper.” One nice summer evening, thinking I’m turning into a culinary genius, I prepare grilled fish tacos. Crunchy shells for him—his favorite—and soft shells for me. All the ingredients are fresh and colorful. Red ripe tomatoes, crisp red onion, dark leafy green cilantro, and hand-shredded lettuce.
The presentation is beautiful, worthy of the cover of Bon Appétit magazine, only to be met with his declaration, “I don’t do fish tacos.”
“But you love tacos,” I say, “Last week you were raving about the grilled mahi.”
He replies, “I also like mussels, and ice cream—but mussel ice cream isn’t a thing.” And I’m forced to agree with that. Just the thought of mussel ice cream is truly foul!
He got me again. No bother . . . we’ll just have to eat out. He can order his linguine and clams and I’ll order the Fish Tacos.