A Marriage of Meals

I chop green pepper, onion, mushrooms and spinach and saute them in olive oil. I heat a pan on high and swirl beaten eggs in a thin, light layer. As they cook I sprinkle black pepper and the sautéed vegetables over the eggs. I fold the omelet over into a half moon and slide it on a plate. With sides of fresh asparagus and buttered toast, I settle down to eat dinner.

On the nights I cook for myself, I often make some variety of veggie omelet, French toast, or big spinach salads with loads of veggies or strawberries or chopped apples. Always with balsamic vinaigrette.

My husband is all Ranch dressing and cheese. He’d happily eat iceberg lettuce if I wasn’t so particular.

This has been our marriage in meals.

Alone, he eats plates of brown. Fried meat with potatoes.

Alone, I eat plates of color. Light on meat, plentiful vegetables.

Together, I make his mother’s chili recipe, slow simmered ground beef and beans. I add tomatoes to mine and he adds shredded cheddar to his. I make meatloaf and sneak in bits of cooked carrots, peppers, and onions.  He makes steak sandwiches and I load mine with peppers and onions, while he adds a little onion and cheese. He makes a wonderful roast chicken with baked potatoes and peas. We turn the leftovers into chicken salad or sandwiches. I boil the remaining bones and meat to make broth that will become chicken and noodles or chicken soup with carrots, peas and noodles. The omelets I make for him include bacon and potatoes. We have meals that can be tweaked to taste by one or the other.

In my thirties, I became lactose intolerant and in my forties the doctor told me to cut down on salt. I’m a nightmare dinner guest. Once when talking to our daughter, my husband joked, “I’d better go cook my no cheese, no salt, no flavor meal.”

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’d say that’s the way to a woman’s heart as well.

In the early days of our marriage, cooking and chores were shared equally. As time went by, he did less of the cleaning and more of the cooking. Now that he’s retired and I’m still working, I rarely cook at all. Tonight, he served barbecue chicken, with baked potatoes and the last of the asparagus.

Without me in his meals, my husband wouldn’t eat as many healthful vegetables. With him in the kitchen, I can have perfectly roasted chicken or tender beef. We eat better together.

They say we are what we eat. A marriage of meals.

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It’s Not This Time of Year Without…

My husband might say it’s just not Thanksgiving without turkey and his mother’s dressing. Indulging in two Thanksgiving meals each year, I think turkey is the base that everything else compliments or elaborates. But I’d be just as happy with chicken or ham, and Thursday evening I happily ate my T-day leftovers with some smoked trout salad. Dressing is always a bonus, but I’m even fonder of baked sweet potatoes and fresh cranberry sauce.

For me, It’s Not This Time of Year Without… pie. You have to have classic pumpkin, always crowned with whipped topping. Once that essential is taken care of the possibilities are endless. Classic apple, streusel topped apple, caramel apple, apple crisp. Pecan is a classic at my family gatherings, but I’ll sample almost any pie you’d care to serve. Cherry, chocolate, blueberry, lemon meringue, strawberry rhubarb, even mincemeat. If the pie requirement is filled, let’s add on some brownies, cookies or ice cream.

This year’s question was, Would you like pumpkin, pecan or streusel topped apple? Yes, please!