The blog’s a little lonely right now. Anne’s in Puerto Rico and our jealousy is only lightened by her promise of food-detail-rich reports when she comes back. Shana’s obsessed with the hunt for an apartment that’s both aesthetically and economically pleasing (a tall order in AA, but that’s the subject of other blogs). Me, I don’t have many excuses, except that my step-daughter Naomi has been with us all week as has my Mom, so I’ve been spending a lot more time cooking food than writing about it. I vowed to do the full family dinner for five all week, all of us sitting down at the same table at the same time eating the same food. There were some exceptions for Nick who hasn’t yet mastered lettuce. Here’s how we’re faring so far:
Day 1: Naomi’s a little blue because her Mom’s away for a week, so she gets to choose dinner. Hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. This makes Mom happy too. I sit at the table with my family and wonder what I have become. But I comfort myself with the fact that the hot dogs are Hebrew National, the mac and cheese is organic, and there are four kinds of mustard on the table. Nick, previous scorner of frankfurters, asks eagerly for more dog. If we call it hot dog, he waves his hand fearfully in front of his mouth and says “hot, hot, hot.” We all liked the meal, btw. I might be a food snob in theory, but rarely in practice. Degree of difficulty on a one to ten scale: two. Degree of family satisfaction: seven. Degree of culinary satisfaction: two.
Day2: Alice Waters roast chicken by way of The Amateur Gourmet. Yum. A Zingerman’s baguette and green salad with stand-by vinaigrette (3 T olive oil, 1 T balsamic, pinch of sugar, pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper) for everyone over three feet, Trader Joe’s organic frozen corn for those under. Organic grape tomatoes in the salad. Mom and Naomi eye Nick’s corn as it’s cooking and say “can we have that instead?” Ingrates. So they get corn too and steal all the tomatoes out of the salad. Nick says tomatoes are yucky. Degree of difficulty: three (really only the time, 1 hour for an almost four pound chicken plus the pain of carving). Degree of family satisfaction: eight. Degree of culinary satisfaction: six.
Day 3: The NY Times Cookbook (first edition) cheese souffle. A classic and awfully easy if you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer to do the work of whipping the egg whites (recipe soon, promise). Don’t let the baby distract you so that you toss the fourth egg yolk into the bowl of whites. It’s been known to happen. Trader Joe’s carrot and ginger soup. Pretty good and nicely spring-y. Left over baguette and salad as above. The souffle is gone in seconds and five pairs of eyes stare forlornly at the empty dish. Nick finishes his before everyone else and points plaintively at his father’s still full plate. “Daddy! More cake!” Everything good to Nick is cake. Oh, btw, Nick says tomatoes rock. He eats a lot of them. Degree of difficulty: four, three if not distracted during souffle production. Degree of family satisfaction: eight, maybe seven due to scarcity. Degree of culinary satisfaction: seven. You have to feel good about producing an airy souffle.
Tomorrow, more reports from the field and an update on my winter resolutions plus plans for spring. I eagerly await (as I’m sure any readers do) the return of my co-conspirators who actually do things like cook for adventurous palates and go out to dinner.