Monthly Archives: May 2011

I Burnt Everything at the Cottage

As soon as we arrived at the Beast’s family’s cottage late Friday night, he reached his paw into the secret basket to find the key and ended up getting himself a pretty nasty sliver that extended deep below the nail of his index finger. He was very brave about the whole thing, despite being in a fair amount of discomfort.  As we both looked around the place for tweezers, the Beast’s mother texted me asking if we’d arrived yet.   I responded yes and asked where the tweezers were.  Then the telephone rang.  It was the Beast’s mom admitting that the last time she was there she couldn’t find the tweezers either.  The two of us got chatting: she wanted to know if we’d seen the note they’d left us where Dave, the Beast’s dad (who is still very sore that a batch of butter tarts he made last summer have never been mentioned in “the blog”) asked us to sweep the pine needles from the steps.  “I will not do it,” I told Marg.  “The needles are precisely the most charming aspect of the cottage.  Removing them would be like asking Leonardo to tone back a bit on the sfumato in the background of the Virgin of the Rocks. It’s not going to happen.”

While I was busy getting out of doing work for the people who generously allow us to stay at their cottage, the Beast was able to finally remove the sliver from his finger. That’s when he motioned with the bloodied appendage for me to get off the phone so I could tend to the wound, which I did by hugging him and pouring him three fingers of Jameson whiskey.

The next morning the Beast was up and at ‘em.  He’s taken his recent interest in exercising (push-ups) to the next level (jumping rope.)

The day before we left he purchased the rope plus two 25 lb. weights from Walmart. As he skipped, I marveled at both his athleticism and how funny it is when boys wear jogging pants and you can see their little bits poking right through them in the front part!

I also prepared breakfast.

While we sipped on our coffee and ate donuts the Beast asked me about a few exercises he’d been reading about.  “What’s a squat?”  “What’s a burpie?” What’s a lunge?” After each question, I’d put down my coffee and deftly demonstrate the exercise, impressing him beyond words.

It was pretty chilly and overcast outside so we spent most of the day inside, reading. When I went into the bedroom with the bunk beds in it to look for candles, I found a bag full of DVDs.  “Why is there a bag of DVDs at the cottage?” I asked the Beast, who was in the other room.

“How should I know?” He yelled back.

“There all are sorts–what a weird collection!” I said.

“I bet they’re my dad’s,” said the Beast.

“Want to watch Something’s Gotta Give?” I asked.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Responded the Beast.  “You didn’t bring a computer so we couldn’t watch a movie even if we wanted to.”

“There’s a TV in here, plus a DVD player,” I noted.  “I want to watch movies tonight!”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.  I think we should just read.”

“OHMYGOD.  Julie and Julia is here.  We are so watching this! I only saw it once in the theatre you know.  Hey, why is there a giant stuffed monkey on the top of this bunk bed?”

“How should I know?  You’re watching that movie alone.”

But before any movies could be watched, there was still a dinner to plan.

We didn’t have much in the way of toppings for our burgers: caramelized onions, arugola and some thinly sliced dill pickle for me (the Beast hates pickles of any sort.) But these wouldn’t be any dill pickles: they would be Marg’s dill pickles, arguably the best dill pickles this side of western Ontario.

“Where are the dill pickles in this joint?” I shouted to the Beast.

“I don’t know.  Did you check the fridge?”

“Yes and they’re not there.”

“Did you check the closet?”

“I’ve checked everywhere.  How can there be no pickles here?  Doesn’t your mom make like a thousand jars every year?”

“I don’t know.”

“I can’t understand it.  First, no tweezers.  And now, no dill pickles. Those are cottage essentials, aren’t they? I mean, I didn’t grow up having a cottage like you guys but you’d think you’d find those things at just about every cottage.  Also, there are no cheese slices! This place is falling apart man.”

Slightly distraught over the idea of eating a burger without pickles, I headed outdoors to cook dinner. I did this while sipping on wine and making some important notes about some big ideas.

This may not have been the best thing to do while simultaneously barbecuing because
while the potato and arugola salad turned out quite nicely,

the burgers, including the bun, were slightly overcooked on account of my carelessness.

Despite being charred–and despite the lack of dill pickle–the burger tasted pretty good.

Then it was time to settle in for the evening.  I assembled some snacks,

while the Beast made a fire.

He also hooked up the TV and DVD player for me so I could watch my movies.

I got through most of Julie and Julia by myself but the Beast curled up beside me for the ending.  Then we watched Wedding Crashers together. We laughed quite a bit. Also, I drank an entire bottle of Vino Nobile di Montelpulciano, not out of gluttony but because I couldn’t decided if I liked it or not.  (It was just okay.)

Luckily for us, the sun came out the next day.  So we spent the afternoon on the dock soaking it up.  I even submerged my entire self in the lake–the first person at this cottage to do so this year, I believe.

The Beast prepared me a beautiful hot dog lunch and even delivered it to me on the dock.

Neither of us wanted to leave the lakeside. But there was a second dinner still to plan,

which required using up a lot of lovely fresh vegetables,

and burning the shit out of them, along with the pork chops.

The problem this time wasn’t me drinking on the job: it was on account of me being distracted by nature and trying to document its beauty.

After dinner, we tidied up, packed our things and loaded the car. We did this, as we usually do, without much talking. There wasn’t much talking on the way home either since the Beast played a real potpourri of music including some Bach, Brahms, his own music, Mardi Gras music, Klezmer music and Randy Newman.

We made it home by 10:00pm–just less than two hours after leaving the cottage–and I was relieved to be back in civilized surroundings where one can find pickles, cheese slices and tweezers with ease.

But I do love roughing it in the wild occasionally, too.

Burger dinner: Foodie **1/2 Beast **

Hot dog lunch: Foodie *** Beast ***

Pork chop dinner: Foodie: 1/2* Beast *

Spanish Rice and Racism: Not Funny

Gosh, was I ever grumpy when I got home last night.  Good news though: it wasn’t because of something the Beast did.  I think it was on account of having to take the subway home because I didn’t ride my bike to work.  That would be my new bike.

It’s changed everything: my old Peugeot was on its last legs.  I could barely get myself up hills.  Every time I pedaled I worried that the chain would bust off into a million pieces.  Now my morning commute is about ten minutes shorter. In fact I ride so fast that when I ring my bell I don’t actually hear it until a few seconds later.

So, after standing side by side with some real crazies on The Rocket for what felt like an eternity–and nearly boiling to death–I got home in a real stink. Turns out the Beast was in a rotton mood too.

Foodie: I’m sorry but I’m not in good spirits right now.

Beast: Well I’m not in a good mood either.  I feel like dying.

Foodie: Do you want to have a competition to see who feels worse?

Beast: How many times did you think about ending it all today?

Foodie: Mmn, maybe just once.

Beast: I thought about it every single time somebody walked into the store.  Plus, I literally played the blues out on a saxophone.

Foodie: Do you think it’s weird that my bike is a boy’s bike?

Beast: No, not at all.

Foodie: A few people have commented on it.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a boy’s bike.

Beast: What’s its name?

Foodie: I haven’t decided for sure but I was thinking about Lil’ Packy.

Beast: That’s racist!

Foodie: What? Oh!  I never even thought about it that.  It’s just a riff on the name of the frame though, “Pake”.

Beast: Did you just say, “riff”?

Foodie: Yeah.

Beast: I feel the same way about the word “riff” as I do about “reso” and “Roncy” (Mom, a lot of people refer to Roncesvalles–the main thoroughfare in our neighbourhood–as Roncy.)

Foodie: Well, I don’t like it when people lede a sentence with “indeed” or “as well”.  It drives me nuts.  I refuse to read on.

Beast: Are we making dinner or what?  I’m starving.

We were using up some leftovers from the night before when I made Spanish rice.  I don’t think it’s technically very Spanish.  It’s a recipe that I think I adapted from my stepmom in 1998 or something.  I guess I didn’t care about exacting quantities back in the 1990s.

No matter.  It turned out pretty nice.  (And I used brown rice without the Beast ever knowing–until now.)

We watched a few episodes of the last season of Northern Exposure. I had rented the entire season a few days ago because the last time we watched it (I think in the winter), the Beast finished the final four or five episodes without me and then returned it.  So I picked it up again with plans to get through all the episodes that I missed. (By the by, these episodes are mostly written and directed by David Chase, who went on to do The Sopranos.  Thematically the two shows have quite a bit in common, like dream sequences; Freudianism; angst; discomfort with modern life; Italian-Americanism; and great fucking music.)

I didn’t get through them all so the Beast has joined me at supper time without complaint.  We saved the last episode for last night.

Back in the kitchen

Beast: So what exactly are we doing with the leftovers?

Foodie: I bought some ground beef and I thought we could make little burritos or enchiladas or something.

Beast: That sounds good.  What do I need to do?

Foodie: You could grate the cheese: I know you like doing that.  Hey, did I ever tell you that when I was little and my mom would brown up ground beef she’d always set aside a little bowl of it for me sprinkled with salt and pepper?

Beast: You tell me that every time you cook ground beef.

Foodie: Why did it taste so good? God, it tasted like the best thing ever.

Beast: I’m washing this cilantro. Last night it was all gritty.  Where’s the salad spinner?

Foodie: I’m too depressed to tell you.

Beast: Oh, here it is.  Do I wash all of it?

Foodie: What’s with all the questions man?  Of course you wash it all!

Beast: Ugghg! Well don’t get mad if I do it wrong.

Foodie: Let me see.  You haven’t even ripped off the stems!

Beast: Well–

Foodie: Give it to me (aggressively ripping off stems).  There.

Beast: I’M DOING IT.

Foodie: Go ahead then.

Beast: Hand me the scissors please.

Foodie: Oh boy…

Foodie: Do you want me to do it?

Beast: Yes.

We gathered up an assortment of amazing toppings (the leftover Spanish rice, seasoned ground beef, homemade salsa, sour cream, cheese, avocado, fresh cilantro and Frank’s hot sauce) and got ourselves situated in front of the TV to watch the last episode of Northern Exposure.

These stuffed tortilla things that we made (I don’t know what to call them?  Fajitas?) were sublimely good.  So good that we polished off an entire ten pack of tortilla shells.

After the episode, me in tears.

Beast: You okay?

Foodie: Y-y-yes.

Beast: I can’t believe you ate all five of your tortillas.

Foodie:  Neither can I.  But I was so hungry.  I feel like I could eat two or three more.

Beast: Me too.

Foodie: Why don’t you get the left over tortilla chips from last night and make yourself some nachos with the rest of these toppings?

Beast: There are leftover chips?

Foodie: Yes! Now go on and get ‘em!  And get that bottle of red in there while you’re at it.

The Beast polished off the toppings and afterwards wondered upstairs.  I watched Apollo 13 on television and drank wine.  Then I watched the last episode of Northern Exposure again.  Yes, I really did that. I felt guilty for a moment–because I’ve been coming home from work every night this week, making dinner and then doing nothing but watching television and then going to sleep really early–but then it passed because I haven’t had much down time to do this sort of thing in the last little while.  I think the guilt arises because I always imagine, when I’m really busy, that if I had spare time I’d work on all of these creative projects that are in an imaginary pipeline but when I get the spare time, all I do is watch TV and movies and drink wine.  It just feels so good.

You’ll be happy to know that both the Beast and I were in far better spirits this morning.

Foodie: I forgot that I brought you home a present last night.

Beast: Let me see it.

The Beast is always talking about making gourmet ice pops.  (And for inexplicable reasons, he always wants to put cilantro in them.) So when my friend, who works for a publishing house, kindly sent me a few food-related books, I knew that this one had to be gifted to the Beast.

Outside on the deck with our coffee checking the potted plants.

Beast: We should go to a sex novelty store and get penis popsicle moulds.

Foodie (spitting out coffee): Why would we do that?

Beast: Because it would be funny.

Foodie: What flavour would you make them?

Beast: Chocolate.

Foodie: That’s racist!

Beast:  Is it? It depends on how big the moulds are.  We could get two different sizes–a four inch and an eight inch and then make vanilla and chocolate penis pops.

Foodie: It’s not even 9am yet. (Pause).  Look at you.

Beast: (Looking down.)  What?

Foodie: You look like an animal.

Indeed, a rather civilized one in white underwear and socks.

Foodie: ***

Beast: ***

Back in the Saddle Again

Friday morning, reading the paper and drinking coffee before work.

Beast: Did I tell you about how I rode the bus with one of the Chinese ladies from the corner green grocer?  You should have heard her!  “Your girlfriend she so skinny now!”

Foodie: Are you serious? The two of them are obsessed with weight loss and the funny thing is, they’re both half the size of me.  Like, literally. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that when I was in there last Sunday, the younger one with bangs gave me half a mango to eat.  I tried to politely decline but she forced me to eat it. Do you know how hard is to eat a mango while grocery shopping?

Beast: I’m not done: I went in last night to pick up some fruit and the other one, the one who’s married, went on about how skinny you are too and how she always sees you running.

Foodie:  They’re obsessed man. There will be a line up of people waiting to pay and she’ll ask me questions about running and what I eat.  And the people in line are like, “Really lady?” She always says that I only eat fruit and vegetables because that’s all she sees me buying but that’s because they’re a fucking green grocer: that’s all they sell. I don’t know how to explain that if they sold chips and french fries with gravy I’d buy all that too.

Beast: They should sell chips there.

Foodie: Do you know that your dad texted me via your mom’s phone about Adele and how there was a review I should read in the Toronto Star that was really well written?

Beast: I’m not surprised.  He called me at work the other day to ask if I’d heard anything about the Adele concert.

Foodie: What the fuck is up with Adele?  How can I be so out of touch with contemporary music?

Beast: I’ll tell you what’s up with Adele.  She’s more “real” than Lady Gaga and people are loving it.  Mind you, they’re both over-marketed and packaged, but in Adele’s case, it’s the absence of packaging: the sale’s pitch is that there is no sales pitch.

Foodie: I can’t even hum an Adele song.

Beast: You shouldn’t hum an Adele song: you should be paying homage, and so should all the record companies, to the black women who were doing the same shit 50 years ago, like Etta James, Irma Thomas, Gladys Knight. It’s exploitation. Society is so fucked up,man.

Foodie (Turning on radio to try and find an Adele song.)

Getting home Friday night at 9pm (after a meeting at Terroni with my boss and publisher of T Magazine, Elena) with dinner in my bag: two ciccios, which are folded pizzas stuffed with prosciutto, bocconccini, tomatoes and arugola from the restaurant, plus a movie: Country Strong.  

Beast: Did you bring the ciccios?

Foodie: Yes, I brought the ciccios.  Hey, do you want me to carry that saxophone up to your music room or should we just leave it here in the living room.

Beast: Oh boy, here we go.  You’re not even in the door five minutes…I’m taking the saxophone to the rehearsal space tomorrow so there’s no point in bringing it upstairs.

Foodie: Well, I’ve just worked all day and I’ve brought dinner home and it would be nice if we didn’t have to eat surrounded by mess.

Beast: Why don’t we eat in the dining room then? Oh wait, we can’t–because you’ve got our winter sweaters spread out all over on the table in there. What movie is that?

Foodie: Country Strong.  You said you wanted to see it, remember?

Beast (putting the DVD into the player):  I was sort of joking.

Foodie: I’ll get plates.

Beast: Who needs plates!  Let’s just eat these ciccios out of the foil!

Foodie (movie is starting):  I think you’re going to like this movie.

Beast (under his breath): It’s bound to be nicer than this relationship.

Foodie (pausing the movie) What’s wrong.

Beast: YOU ARE HATEFUL.

Foodie: Yes, I know.  I’ve been a real capital Bitch lately. I am so grumpy and I can’t explain why.

Beast: Just say the word.

Foodie: What do you mean?

Beast: Just say the word and I’ll leave.

Foodie: What would you do if you left?

Beast: I’d move home and save up enough money to go to India for six months.

Foodie: You would?

Beast: Yes, or at least I’d talk about doing it.

Foodie: Like Eat Pray Love?

Beast: No, because I wouldn’t let that guy make love to me at the end.  I’d be the one making love to him and it would be Biutiful spelled like the movie he was in.

Foodie: Javier Bardem?

Beast: Yes.

Foodie: I’m sorry.

Beast: Do you want me to put away all my records right now or can we eat?

Foodie:  You are being very, very funny.

Beast: I might as well go out with a bang.

Foodie: Stop talking like that.

Beast: Remember, no Beast, no Foodie and the Beast.  Chaos without. Chaos within.

Foodie: You’ve been saying that Chaos stuff all week.  What in the hell does it mean?

Beast: Ah, it’s in every line of the Cliff Notes to King Lear, dummy.  Did you even finish grade 11?

Foodie: Okay, okay.

Beast: I just read somewhere that Richard III was someone’s favourite Shakespeare play and it’s my favourite too.  Or at least it has my favourite speech. Who was it? I can’t remember.

Foodie: You’ll remember once we start watching Country Strong.

Beast: It was Glenn Gould.  That’s who it was.

Foodie: Of course it was Glenn Gould. (Pausing the movie again).  I can’t explain why I’ve been so mean lately.  I’m sorry though (tearing up a bit.) Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with me?

Beast: Excuse me, but if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you, I would have asked you to marry me by now.

Foodie: Again, very, very funny. Thank you.

Beast: You’re welcome.  Can we watch this fucking movie now?

Foodie: Yes.

Half way through, we have an intermission to pull together a dessert.

Beast (taking an ice cream container out of the freezer): ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Foodie: Oh shit.  Sorry.  I think I finished that when I was on my root beer float bender a few weeks ago.  I’m so sorry. There’s watermelon though!

Back in the living room watching the movie.

Beast: Can you pause the movie for a second?

Foodie: What now?

Beast: I have two questions for you.  First, Gwyneth Paltrow is beautiful.

Foodie: Yes, she’s lovely, but in a–

Beast: And second, can you imagine primitive man first cracking open a watermelon and discovering its delicious interior? They must have gone fucking nuts man.

Foodie: Are you done?

Beast: Yes.  Wait.  Do you want to know the name of a country and western song?

Foodie: Sure.

Beast: “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”

Country Strong was more like Country Wrong.  It was terrible.  But I was still bawling at the end of the movie. Was I ever in a mood! I don’t know how to explain my state as of late, but I’ll try:  I feel like I’m a working man from the 1960s who comes home to his wife (or a Beast), and is a real prick–just a grumpy, mean prick who bosses his wife around and nitpicks at everything and feels like he’s entitled to stuff, like a hot meal on the table and no-questions-asked-about-why-he’s-late.  And I don’t want to be that person. Conversely, I don’t want to feel like the Beast’s…get ready for it…mother. Maybe I’m caught between wanting to be domestically perfect and a working professional. And I feel like I’m failing a bit at both.

So, Saturday morning, sick to death of myself and my whiny, high-pitched nagging voice, I decided to try and be nice to the Beast all day. I figured this would be easiest if I parked myself in the kitchen and made him things to eat. I had a new Kitchen Aid stand mixer to bust of out its box (I let my mom buy me this cornflower blue beauty for Mother’s Day), and a few recipes I was eager to try out.

But first I had to actually plug in the fancy mixer and figure out how to use it.  This took about 15 minutes.  Then I got down to coconut cupcake business.

It was like the mixer just took over for my brain and did everything. I just had to stand back and watch.


I was taking the cupcakes to my friend Tom’s annual Victoria Day backyard party. But the Beast and I ate two little ones after I’d iced them, just to make sure they were Tom-worthy.  (They were.)

I wasn’t done with my new toy.  My aunt Sandy gave me her coffee cake recipe (which I will scan and post at the end) and also a whole whack of rhubarb from her garden. The cake was very easy to make, especially after my mom gave me her tube pan for keeps.


I also made a little mini rhubarb crisp and froze it.  I don’t know if you can do that but we’ll find out eventually.  The majority of the rhubarb went into a batch of rhubarb jam.


In total, I spent about four hours in the kitchen–in one day I probably spent more time in there than I have all month.  The Beast visited here and there, to lick the occasional spoon and to give me hugs. It felt pretty nice to stand back, just before dinner time, and take in the efforts of my labour.

The coffee cake has provided us with marvelous breakfasts all week.  In fact, coffee cake might be the best breakfast.

I feel much better.  But I don’t think I feel better simply because I had some time to cook and bake.  That’s too easy.  I don’t know why. But I know that the Beast and I spent nearly all of Saturday and Sunday together without one fight.  And on the holiday Monday, which I had off from work, I popped into the green grocer for a few things and, as she always does, the unmarried Chinese lady with the bangs (and who’s desperate to find a boyfriend) asked me how my “honey” was.  I said he was working and that secretly I was very happy to be home alone. She said, “Yes, sometimes it’s nice to be home alone, but when you’re alone, you wish you were home with somebody you love.”

COFFEE CAKE RECIPE TO FOLLOW.

A Beast’s Birthday at Bar Centrale

If the Beast wants to get a rise out of me, he’ll often put on some music by Prince. I don’t like Prince.  I’ll try to explain why: because when I was a kid I’d go over to my neighbour’s place to play with barbies in the downstairs wood-paneled rec room that had wall-to-wall stinky shag carpet and her older sister, who was bossy and mean and overweight and shockingly short, she’d be down there with her greasy-haired, skinny little boyfriend making out right in front of us with Purple Rain playing on the ghetto blaster OR Purple Rain the movie playing on the TV.

It made me feel terrible inside.  Like, dirty or something–which is  precisely why so many other people adore Prince, I presume.  But at ten, I wasn’t ready for this filthy world of sex oozing from a four foot tall man: I was still saying my bedtime prayers for crying out loud (the fear of God had been instilled in me thanks to another neighbour–this one a Baptist whose house I’d visit every Saturday because there was juice and cookies served side by side with a Baptist bible study). Do you know how I ended that prayer?  Let me tell you: Dear God, please don’t let me get my period until I’m at least 15. Please?

That’s the sad truth. And I blame Prince for making me want to stunt my growth: Prince + teenagers = a load of ass to me. No thank you! Bra straps, leg shaving and slow-dancing with boys?  Fuck that shit man! I’d stick with drinking Kool-Aid, playing with my barbies and building forts in the corn field out back for as long as I could.

But this isn’t a Judy Blume fan club blog so let me make my Prince point: In a car the other day, the Beast put on Prince.  I couldn’t very well yell at him to turn it off because it was his birthday.  So, like any other 36 year-old lady driving with their 28-year-old boyfriend in his parent’s car and headed to sunny Scarborough, I pretended like I was in a Larry Clark movie and just grinned and bore it.  We were enroute to pick up the Beast’s birthday present: one instrument of his choice from the House of Raga.

It wasn’t much to look at from the outside, or the inside for that matter, but the Beast was overjoyed.


And tucked away in the back corner of the music shop was a doorway that opened up to an oasis of brightly coloured Indian saris and jewelry.  So, while the Beast asked the lovely owner multiple questions about drums and harmoniums, I hung out in the back with the owner’s wife who showed me piece after piece of exquisite jewelry.

An hour and a half later, we loaded up the car with a harmonium, a drum, some bells and a tin flute or two (plus some late Mother’s Day gifts) and headed home to the Beast’s parent’s place.

Beast: Sorry I took so long in there.

Foodie: Are you kidding?  I can’t wait until we go back again! Scarborough is awesome! And the owner and his wife were so friendly.

Beast:  They were the best.  He said I could call any time with questions about the harmonium.

Foodie: His wife goest to India and picks out all the jewelry herself you know.  That was so much fun!  It was like the shop was especially designed just for us: boys in the front and girls in the back! Are you happy with your presents?

Beast: Very.

When we arrived at his folks’ place, the Beast was treated to a sparkler-topped cake.

After a drink with them–and several demonstrations of how a harmonium works…

we headed out to our birthday dinner destination: the newly opened Bar Centrale, by Terroni. The Beast’s favourite restaurant in the city is the Osteria Ciceri e Tria, also a Terroni project, but he’s been eager to visit Bar Centrale since it opened last month.

As some of you know, I work for Terroni. Heck, I practically spent all of my twenties at the Queen Street location where I first started as a dishwasher and espresso maker back in 1998.  I was a server there during and after grad school and managed for a few years too before leaving the restaurant three years ago to work at a magazine. Now, I help the them produce their in-house magazine (look for the spring/summer issue at Terroni restaurants in about a week’s time!)

I mention my relationship with the restaurant only so you’ll understand why I can’t very well go and review the place.  I mean, none of you would take me seriously, like you do now, as an international food authority if I went and reviewed a place where I work. That’s like shitting in your own kitchen, or in your sink, or someplace in your house that isn’t a toilet.

But I will say this: The Beast felt like a little bit of a princess that night. As soon as we parked ourselves at the bar two glasses of prosecco landed into our hands, which we both certainly needed after all that time in Scarborough.

Beast:  I do not want to make one decision tonight.  You do the ordering.

Foodie:  Really?  Fantastic!  But do you want to drink red or white?

Beast: NOT ONE DECISION.

Foodie:  Fine.  Oh gosh, I’m so excited for you to try these beef tartar crostini with zabayon and truffle shavings.  It may be the most perfect singular bite of anything I’ve ever tried.

Beast:  Just make sure there’s enough of everything. I’m starving.

I ordered the tartar crostini, along with another version topped with spicy nduja sausage and smoked ricotta cheese and also some fried polenta wedges piled high with mushrooms and gorgonzola.

I insisted that the Beast try the spaghetti con cacio e pepe–essentially a three ingredient pasta (cheese, olive oil and black pepper)–that’s so satisfying in its simplicity that you’ll wonder why anyone bothers with stuff like vegetables or meat. And it was served in the cutest little pot to boot.

And for the record, after I tried the wild boar pâté flavoured with lardo and a fine smearing of blackberry jam, I remembered that meat is pretty amazing stuff.

After the drinks at the Beast’s parents’ place, the prosecco and a bottle of red wine, we were both a little bit tipsy so I don’t remember dessert all that well. There was a lot of chocolate and something that was like silkened caramel.

It was a perfect meal in an exquisite space–and they didn’t play any Prince so that was a real plus for me.  If I remember correctly, I heard the sweet sounds of Al Green playing while we sipped on our espresso before calling it a night.  And in that quiet moment I felt a bit sad that the Beast had to leave his birthday drum, flutes, bells and harmonium at his parents’ place and wouldn’t be able to play with them when we got home.

I also felt very relieved.

Passaggiata

It’s official: the Beast doesn’t work on Sundays any longer. That means that we get to spend the entire weekend together.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that the prospect this quality time is not something that I’m necessarily looking forward to. You’ll also know why: Sundays are my day. It’s the day where I go for a long morning run and then read the paper in my underwears and drink coffee and grocery shop and cook and clean and do laundry and paint my nails and don’t actually talk to anybody and then the Beast gets home at 8pm and we’ll have a lovely dinner together.  Sundays are my favourite day of the week.

And now I get to share them. With him.  This is bringing out the worst in me. I’ve been very mean–reminding the Beast in an extremely sassy tone that Sunday with me will be a chore day, not a relax day where he gets to make music and messes. It’ll be a day where he has to go from room to room collecting CDs and books and records and putting them back in their rightful spots.  It’ll be a day where he puts away all his instruments into the instrument room.  THAT’S WHY I GAVE HIM A WHOLE ROOM.  SO HE COULD KEEP HIS SHIT CONTAINED.  It’ll be the day where I remove the little craft projects he’s left all over MY desk–the tiny little desk that I compulsively keep clean in case I want to make art or write, which is never but if I do, then I’ll have a clean desk on which to do it–and I’ll passive aggressively move the project to HIS ROOM THAT ALSO HAS A DESK.   Yes, I’m resentful.  I’m brimming with the stuff.  I resent that on his days off he just gets to be creative and that on my days off I have to be an adult.

And through all my meanness, the Beast, surprisingly, just grins and bears it.  He even tries to convince me that Sundays will be “fun”.

This most recent Sunday was the first real test.  The morning was okay.  We read the paper and drank coffee and then I went for a little run.  When I got home I began to prepare our picnic lunch (after taking a stroll through High Park the day before to see the cherry blossoms, we’d decided to return on Sunday with a picnic.)

Beast: Do you need any help?

Foodie: Actually, yes.  You can–

Beast:  Wait, let me pick out a CD to play first.  Where did all my CDs go?

Foodie:  I put them away.

Beast: That’s okay, I’ll go get one.

Foodie: Why don’t you just help me peel these eggs for the egg salad and we’ll listen to the CBC.  That’s what I normally do in the kitchen on Sundays.

Beast:  Where’s the Wonder bread for these sandwiches?

Foodie:  I didn’t get any.  I bought a loaf of that Thuet 12 grain sourdough bread though.  You like that one.

Beast:  Where’s your iPhone?

Foodie: Why?

Beast:  I need to text you something: that I’m not going on this fucking picnic any more.

By the time I’d finished making egg salad and fruit salad, we were both too hungry to wait to get to the park, so we decided to go eat on our sunny deck.

Foodie: Ah! This is nice, isn’t it?

Beast:  Wait, I’ll go put on some music.

Foodie: The quiet is so pleasant though, don’t you think?

Beast: Don’t worry, it’ll just take a second.

Foodie: Oh, some jazz.  What a nice choice.

Beast:  Thanks.

Foodie: This is egg salad is extremely good, don’t you think?  And we made it together.

Beast:  That’s why it tastes so good.  Because we did it together.  Think of all the things we can do on Sundays!

Foodie:  Yes.

Beast:  Like, what are we going to do with the rest of the day?

Foodie: Well, I don’t normally plan things out with any exacting detail–I just try to get as much done as I can.  We’ve got two loads of laundry to do but we don’t have detergent–

Beast: I’ll help with that.

Foodie: Okay.

Beast: Want to go for a walk and return the movies and get tooth paste and detergent from Shopper’s?

Foodie: (Pause)  Okay.

So far so good.

Beast:  This is like a passaggiato isn’t it.

Foodie: Passaggiata.  And yes, it is.  And how do you know that word?

Beast:  You taught me when we were in Italy.  (Pause.)  You do so much for me, you know that?  You’re like a mother to me.  You’re like the best roommate ever.

Foodie (pretending to fall down on the sidewalk.)

Beast: What are you doing?!?

Foodie: I’m fake fainting, what does it look like?

Beast: Why?

Foodie: YOU JUST TOLD ME I WAS LIKE A MOTHER TO YOU.

Beast:  I thought it was funny.  Hey, have you come around on this jacket yet? (His “Italian” jacket that he bought from “Mike” on “Dundas St.”

Foodie:  No, not at all.

Beast:  Why not?  I can’t believe you don’t like it!

Foodie:  First of all, feel it. It feels like shit. Second of all, it’s too big for you. Third, you’re wearing it with sneakers and shorts and you look like that guy from ACDC.

Beast: The guy that wears the kids’ clothes?

Foodie: Yes.

Beast:  That guy looks like an idiot.

Foodie: (Silence.)

Beast:  Anyway, I love it. And we don’t have to love everything that the other wears. I hate it when you straighten your hair.

Foodie:  I like it.

Beast:  See?

After running our errands, we popped into Queen Street West Antiques–a warehouse filled with some pretty spectacular furniture that showcases 1950s and 60s design. They also, occasionally, sell musical instruments.

Beast: Look!  A sousaphone!  Go ask how much it is.

Foodie: (laughing like a maniac)  Not on your life kid.  No way.  Nope.  Never.  What the fuck would you do with that thing?

Beast:  Ah, start a marching band?

Foodie (laughing like a maniac)  Where would you put it?  You can’t.  It’s impossible.

Beast:  Please just ask how much it is?

Foodie:  No!

The Beast finally asked.  It was $195 and it didn’t come with a mouth piece, thank God, so he couldn’t test it.  We walked out empty-handed, but not for long.  The Beast stopped at a store with some milk crates filled with records out front while I popped into another to try on a dress that made me look like a box.  When I came back outside, the Beast was gone.  I walked across the street to our coffee destination point, sat down on the bench out front, and waited.  The Beast bolted from a convenience store and headed back to the shop, giving me a gesture of, “just wait.”  Then he crossed the street to join me on the bench and put this in my lap.

Beast:  Promise not to get mad at me.

Foodie:  How much?

Beast:  $160 but it’s from the 1910s and it’s gorgeous and do you know how rare metal clarinets are?  Here–look at the inscription.  Are you mad?

Foodie:  It’s your money.

Beast: You’re mad.

Foodie:  I’m not your mother or your accountant.  What you buy is up to you.  I just think it’s funny that I let you out of my sight for two seconds and you go and buy a fucking musical instrument.  You’re nuts.

Beast: I know, but do you know how hard it is for me to control myself? Do you know how much I want to buy but I don’t? (Pause) Are you having a nice Sunday so far?

Foodie: We haven’t even started laundry or picked up the steak, rapini and potatoes for dinner and it’s almost 3 in the afternoon.

Beast: Want to go see that Bill Cunningham documentary tonight?

Foodie: Well, you know I like staying in on Sunday nights.

Beast:  We can go to a 6-ish viewing and still have a nice Sunday night dinner. And I’ll help with laundry when we get home.

Foodie:  Let me think about it.

Beast: Blah blah blah and something else about a trumpet or a reed or something and more talking and blah blah.

Foodie: You know, we don’t have to talk the entire time we’re together.  We can just walk.

Beast: Oh I get it.  Fine.  You want silence?  Oh you’re going to get silence.  WATCH THIS.

Foodie: (Silence)

Beast: (Silence)

Foodie: (Silence)

Beast: I HATE SILENCE! You’re sick of me, aren’t you.

Foodie:  No, I’m not sick of you.  I’m just really, really tired and we talked all day yesterday and this morning and this afternoon and if we keep talking now we’ll have nothing left to talk about later.

Beast: I would never run out of things to talk about.

Foodie: I don’t doubt that.

We managed to pick up dinner groceries, do the laundry, see the documentary and get home by 8:00pm.  The only thing we didn’t manage to do was get to an LCBO in time. So I made do with what we had on hand and made aperitivos with Aperol, a dash of bitters and a splash of white wine.

While I blanched the rapini and then sautéed it in olive oil with garlic and red chillies, the Beast roasted the little white potatoes and grilled the absurdly large T-bone steak we purchased from Rowe Farms.

Together, we managed to get dinner on the table in about 25 minutes.

It was a perfect meal.

Afterwards, we curled up on the couch and started watching Treme.  I made it through one episode before drifting off to sleep.  But in my sleepy haze, I heard the Beast folding laundry and doing the dishes.  I felt guilty for not getting up and helping him. And I felt sad for being so mean and grumpy lately.  The only reason one of my snarky comments never turned into a big fight was because the Beast battled them all with humour so instead of yelling there was just laughing.  In my slumber, I did manage to squeeze out a thank you though.

Foodie: I can’t believe all the work you’ve done while I just slept. Thank you so much. I’m sorry for being so tired lately.

Beast:  I know how it feels–I worked 32 and a half hours last week.

Foodie: I’m too tired to laugh but that was funny.

Beast: I can’t believe how sore my hands are from doing the dishes.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to play any of my instruments.  And don’t get used to this: I’m taking the rest of the summer off from chores.

Egg Salad Sandwiches:  Foodie **1/2   Beast **

Steak Dinner: Foodie *** Beast ***

The Week That Was: A Round-Up

Number of hours worked last week between three jobs: 86

Number of meals cooked last week: 0

Who cleaned the washroom on Sunday, including scrubbing the tub: the Beast

Who nearly cried with joy upon discovering this: the Foodie

Number of calories burned after running the Sporting Life 10K run on Sunday: 610

Number of calories consumed later that day after eating a dinner of cheese: 10,714

Number of episodes of Friday Night Lights watched during that dinner: 5

Number of times I cried: 7

Number of glasses of white wine I consumed: 4

Number of different cheeses I sampled: 5

Conversational Highlights during Friday Night Lights marathon:

Beast: Why are you painting your nails now?  Why don’t you do them after you wash the dishes?

Foodie: I AM NOT WASHING THE FUCKING DISHES.

———————

Beast: Coach’s wife has the best body ever.

Foodie (drunk): It’s kind of like mine in a way, except my legs aren’t that long and my hair isn’t that shiny and my breasts aren’t as big and my waist is wider.  But if you ball-parked it, we’re kind of the same.

Beast: (silence)

———————

Beast: Did you ever funnel a beer in high school?  Oh wait, you’re from St. Thomas, Ontario.  Of course you funneled beers.

———————

Foodie (drunk, and slurring words): Did I ever tell you how I used to be an athlete in high school?  I used to shit talk you know. In basket-ball.  I would shit talk like you never even heard before.  “You gotta a left hand?  Let’s see you use it then.” Shit like that, you know?

Beast: I do not even know what you are saying right now.  I do not know who you are.

Foodie:  One time I think somebody called me a Smurf or something on the court. (Pause)  Our uniforms were yellow though.

———————

I promise never to do a point form post again.  Thanks for understanding though.