I am conducting a rhetorical, one-question survey to my ever-discriminating and well-versed readers: Who is ultimately responsible for deciding what is served to you, at dinner most nights?
a) you alone
b) your significant other
c) you eat out a lot
d) you don’t eat “dinner,” as such
e) the warden
The reason I ask is because after more than thirty years of being able to happily (!) check “b,” I find that now the answer is “a.” I have always been more than willing to both help cook, and cook meals by myself, but in most instances, it was still Gluten-Free Mama who furnished me with the fine print, not to mention the ingredients.
Now, due to “circumstances beyond my station’s control,” I find it to my advantage to do some-if not all-of my dinner planning. Otherwise, it’s popcorn or the ever-popular bean burritos. The reason is simply that GF Mama has enough on her plate at this moment, regardless of whether or not I am ready to assume this responsibility.
Asking her to continue in her accustomed role, would be tantamount to me saying: Though you are on an extremely limited diet and can only eat a small percentage of what you are used to eating, I still want you to go ahead and plan all sorts of savory dishes for me, so that I don’t miss out.
|Savory odors permeated the house for hours...|
Actually, The highest point of my week was preparing roasted veggies (red onion, zucchini squash, mushrooms, bell pepper), mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, over gluten-free spaghetti, and having GF Mama indulge herself.
Maybe that is a tad too flamboyant. Let’s say that she was thrilled to be able to taste the peppers. These side effects are a nuisance, though not unexpected.
The key to my culinary planning success is to keep a random assortment of available ingredients, something easier for a guy who lives on a farm, and to not wait until it’s dinner time, to start figuring out what’s on the menu. I’ve tried that and found that translates to: Go to de box, get de sour dough bread, and wrap two slices around some sharp cheddar cheese, with mustard.
By dinner time I am too tired and usually too famished to be starting the process. The other morning I prepped some veggies, roasted them and set them aside, so that all I had to do when dinnertime approached, was boil water for spaghetti and put a green salad together.
When I space dinner out so that it’s too late to get something out of the freezer, I can always go the sandwich/popcorn route. Besides, the closer to summer we get, the more I will have available from the farm. Fresh tomato sandwiches!
Though I now must purchase organic chickens from the market, we just got more than 100 “peepers” on-farm, and that will amount to filled freezers, in another ten to twelve weeks.
So now, whenever I venture down to the metropolitan area of Willits, or even Ukiah, I go with store list in hand. This allows me to better assume the role I was so accustomed to seeing from Gluten-Free Mama. I always wondered how she managed to be so organized, and then I found out for myself. It's do or starve.
The thing is, I can convince myself that popcorn is an adequate meal, a thousand times easier than she could convince three sons, of the same thing.
The menu below was not created prior to the fact; rather, it represents a work in constant progress. I recreated this one from memory, a curious assortment of meticulously planned and executed culinary masterpieces, balanced by fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, last-second desperation-mode meals.
Menu: Week of April 22-28th
Sunday: Cheeseburger with green salad, banana
Monday: Barbecued chicken with teriyaki sauce, rice, Granny Smith apple
Tuesday: Leftover teriyaki chicken and rice, cherry fruit cocktail
Wednesday: Tater tots, green salad, Granny Smith apple
Thursday: Roasted veggies in olive oil/balsamic vinegar, over spaghetti, green salad, pineapple bits/fruit cocktail
Friday: Leftover spaghetti, roasted veggies, teriyaki chicken, apple
Saturday: Popcorn with butter and salt
(And don’t be all that dazzled by the copious representation of fresh and packaged fruit. I’m just coming off a six-week-long chocolate binge, helped immeasurably by the fact that I live a half-hour away from town and that I hate to drive. If I can hold strong while in town, I'm home-free...)