"A cruel irony of your life... you are married to a Philistine when it comes to food." So much of who we are... who we think we are, is wrapped up in our perceived opinions of those closest to us. My identity, including my feelings of pride and who I am are wrapped up in food and my ability to shop on a shoestring, create and serve up healthy dishes with some finesse (not to mention "neatness" in the kitchen - I'm a firm believer in CAYG)
My husband, on the other hand, will happily feast on ramin noodles with broccoli, chicken, eggs, or whatever happens to be available in the fridge. He loves to cook, with preparations flying all over the kitchen, preferring clean up when it's all over - he does a great job of clean up and makes fantastic fried rice, I might add, but seems to miss the aesthetic sumptuous of prepartions I adore.
He favors dinner at 3:30, going to work early in the morning and skipping lunch in favor of a two mile run. I, on the other hand, typically have cheese, Hammond pretzels and raisins for lunch at my desk around 2:00 and prefer a European timetable of dinner after 8:00. I relish preparations with a bit of jazz and a glass of wine in hand. Dinner together, I've learned, requires planning ahead - "Honey, can you be sure you have a yogurt or two after your run so we can have dinner later?"
I've found myself missing "family dinners" as a young family in my past life - four kids and a husband who seemed to thoroughly enjoy my cooking. Candles, linen napkins, and an appropriately set table weren't a part of every day, especially with kids running off in different directions to swim and band practice, the gym, or youth group at church, but when we did sit down, we celebrated. I remember cheerful banter about the day, silly songs, and playful fun - even when we were silently suffering through the reality of divorce, dinners remained a constant bright spot. I still relish the opportunity to cook for all of them when they are around.
This afternoon I was bemoaning to myself, my fridge mostly empty after returning from several days on vacation - barren, in fact of anything without preservatives or pickling. I wandered over to my friend Betty's house to water her plants, and remembered she had asked me to clean out the fridge and take anything edible home - dinner! My mouth was watering all the way home with a bag of fresh greens, assorted fruits and vegies, and some leftover grilled salmon. Now you need to know, Betty is an awesome cook, so finding her abandoned salmon was as good as dropping close to $30 on on precooked from an organic gourmet deli!
I decided on my personal version of comfort food - salmon pasta salad and a fresh fruit salad, above. A glass of wine from a bottle of Trader Joe's Coastal Cabernet Sauvingnon, 2006 brought back from vacation in Virginia, and a lovely oboe suite on WITF (which I wish I'd have written down, as one of the middle movements was particularly moving) made for a delicious end to a quiet Monday.