September 24, 2010

a new taste in our house

One of us is a big fan of food.  The other one views food as a valuable tool to sustain life, but in the grand scheme of things no more exciting than getting enough sleep.  Guess who is who.  If you guessed I was the ambivalent one, try again.  If anything I am a borderline glutton seeking reform daily.

What does this have to do with our food choices you might ask?  Well, food, being central to my life, has a lot to do with how I show love and I want to find a way to show love through food to a guy who doesn't give a hoot about it.  Not an easy task, but for some reason it is a task that I have always enjoyed.  One of the most satisfying things in life is seeing that man's face light up over a meal I have made.  It's like panning for gold in a stream bed.  Low odds, huge payout.

One of the biggest keys to my success has been a rating system that we implemented when we were dating.  It's quick and dirty 1-5.  It can be painful to get a 2, and boy where there a lot of them when we started out, but I got to learn things like pasta is not an every night starch, but instead a very rare visitor in our house.

A breakthrough happened when I thought about our different backgrounds.  I grew up on the East Coast eating pretty standard fare with a very heavy nod to my Italian and Irish heritage.  He grew up in Colorado eating beans with green chilies and making tortillas at home.  I can't take credit for this breakthrough.  A cousin of mine recently started cooking out of a Rick Bayless cookbook in order to accommodate her husband's tastes.  What an idea!

Even though I grew up knowing how to cook Italian food, my mom wasn't born making braciole and beans & greens.  She figured it out with the help of her husband and in-laws.  Now it's my turn to figure out the world of the desert Southwest.  I started simple with two different cheater crock-pot dishes, black bean chicken and corn chili and carnitas.  Both were delicious and both were 5's on the old 1-5 scale.  And the best part about both of them is they were easy.  They both required no more than four ingredients.  Recipes will follow in a pair of posts, though no pictures.  Crock-pot cookery is not pretty.

And so, now I will leave you with a semi-unrelated anecdote.  Yesterday was yoga and so I would be getting home around 7:30.  I needed a break from the Southwestern fare and didn't really feel like 3 crock-pot meals in 7 days.  I planned to make a meal in a bag.  During HT double dollar coupons I picked up four or five quick meals for a buck fifty a piece.  You know the ones that take 14 minutes to prepare?  So.  I asked.  " Do you want orange chicken or shrimp alfredo?"  The answer I got was almost immediate and decisive.  "Pot roast."  While I might normally object to being given a third option, when Phil does this it really makes me laugh, sometimes I wonder if he needs to get his hearing checked.

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