Making lists, curry and a cassoulet

Every Sunday I make a list of all the things that I hope to accomplish on my day off–without any distraction from the Beast, who doesn’t get home from work until 8:00 p.m.

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The items on these lists range from the typical, like “do laundry, run, make dinner” to the absurd, like “read the paper, remove underwear from bathroom door knob, sweep crumbs under the coffee table.”

A recent list included this line: “Make a curry?”

The Beast had many questions relating to that question mark: “Were you unsure that you wanted to make it? Were you asking yourself if it was possible?”

I guess I just felt noncommittal about the whole thing. I mean, did I really want to have a curry for dinner?

I learned how to make my very inauthentic version of “a curry” from a young couple who lived in Edinburgh about 15 years ago. I was visiting Scotland with my then boyfriend, his twin sister–they were born there and we stayed in Glasgow with their aunt and uncle–and her boyfriend. I remember thinking that “the curry” the young couple in Edinburgh made was the most exotic thing I’d ever tasted. They melted a large amount of butter in a pot, added onion, and then a can of chickpeas, some potatoes, cauliflower and maybe some broccoli. Then about two big tablespoons of Patak’s mild curry paste was thrown in, with a can of stewed tomatoes. About 30 minutes later, the curry was served over basmati rice, the fragrance of which I found very exotic, too.

This is how I still make curry. Sometimes I use red kidney beans instead of chickpeas.

The one I made after I wrote, “Make a curry?” had real potential to be a great meal because I whipped up a special condiment of yogurt, lemon and mint. I bought some basmati rice, too. My experience with rice is that the portions are always way off. Rice for two is actually rice for a single four-year-old. Rice for four is rice for two. On this package, one cup was rice for four to six people.

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Are you fucking kidding me?

It didn’t matter, though, because the potatoes in the curry didn’t cook all the way through. And that, in my mind, makes any meal a bust.

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On Tuesday, the Beast’s day off, I arrived home from work and was greeted by the most intoxicating smell–a smell I’d never smelled in our home before.

Foodie: What in the hell are you making?

Beast: Oh that? That’s just a cassoulet I made.

Foodie: Excuse me?

Beast: Yeah, I made a cassoulet.

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Foodie: I can’t believe it. I don’t know what to say. It looks like it’s out of a magazine! Where did you get the recipe?

Beast: Oh, I referenced a few different ones and then sort of came up with this one on my own.

Foodie: Well, I can’t wait to try it.

Beast: I know you don’t like chicken but there is plenty of sausage in there, too.

Foodie: You know what? I actually really like chicken thighs, as long as I don’t see them raw, so this is just perfect! And thanks for not using duck.

Beast: You’re welcome.

The Beast’s cassoulet was easily the best thing ever to be cooked in our house.

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It’s Sunday again. After I publish this, I can strike off the fifth item on my list, with only six more items to go.

One of those things still-to-do items is to wash the towels, which was added to my master Sunday list after the following exchange this morning:

Beast: [naked, after his shower] Are you doing a towel load today?

Foodie: I wasn’t planning on it, why?

Beast: Well, where do you put the dirty tea towels?

Foodie: What’s going on here?

Beast: I had to give my ass a really thorough drying but I didn’t want to use my body towel because it would just feel wrong to use it again.

Foodie: So you used a tea towel to dry your ass?

Beast: Yes.

Foodie: You didn’t put it back in the kitchen, did you?

Beast: No! It’s in the washroom but I don’t want anyone else to use it.

Foodie: It goes in the canvas bag on the back of the dining room door.

Beast: Thanks.

-run
-FATB post
-eat yogurt and granola and pomegranate for breakfast
-respond to emails
-pack for work trip
-rent car for Imogen’s baptism
-pick up puffer 
-make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner
-buy fire log to watch with the film Bugsy tonight
-Wash dirty-ass tea towel

7 responses to “Making lists, curry and a cassoulet

  1. Excellent literal use of “dirty-ass.”

  2. Do you ever fully read the NYT? I struggle with this every Sunday. Also, I’m not sure if you listen to Julie Klausner’s (hilarious) podcast but I think you would really like this episode: http://howwasyourweek.libsyn.com/nicole-holofcener-the-domain-of-the-rotund-ep-136

    • Never, Sarah. I read the fun stuff on Sunday and work through the front section and the Sunday review through out the week. I can’t wait to listen to this!

  3. Hi Jess, thanks for sharing your curry recipe using Patak’s! We’re sorry that your potatoes didn’t cook all the way through though, those damned finicky spuds. We have a fun video that may help you with your rice quandary though, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS2tvgzWoFM. Enjoy your road trip!

  4. I remember, as a tremulous teenager, leafing through the Silver Palate cookbook hoping to see photographs of bosomy chefs bending over steaming pots and pans (I found only a line drawing of an oyster and a cut open papaya, both sufficient for my purposes at the time) and returning over and over again to the cassoulet recipe. What a marvel! Pages of instructions! Days of cooking! An entire barnyard and the beanfield beside it rendered into deliciousness! It seemed impossibly ambitious and I wondered who in their right mind would embark on such a project. And yet, here we find the humble Beast casually unveiling it one Sunday evening. Chapeau, monsieur.

    It just goes to show how little women taken note of all the things men do in the kitchen. Perhaps thankfully, if this tea towel story is to be believed.

  5. Still thinking about that tea towel. Do you think that, even after washing, you would ever be able to use it to dry your dishes without hesitation? Perhaps all your towels match, and there is no way of identifying which one was used for the rectal rubbing. Not that I am particularly squeamish. I used to use old pairs of underwear whose elastic had given out to dry my dishes, (they are absorbent and more lint free than most commercial towels) and only stopped after an unfortunate reaction from a dinner guest I was hoping to impress. Evening didn’t end as I had planned. Let’s leave it at that.

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