It’s hard being an adult. I’ve had to stay late at work every night this week, and I’ll be doing the same next week too. By the time I get home–usually just after 8:00pm–I still have to think about dinner. I get it now–all those crazy people at the grocery store, with low-blood sugar, yelling at their kids, yelling at their spouse, looking very grumpy–they’re miserable because they’re starving and don’t want to cook dinner.
So last night, I nearly cracked.
The Beast got to see a Werner Herzog movie at the film festival with a friend and we’d planned to eat together at about 9:00pm. I rode my bike to Sobey’s at about 8:45pm. I had no idea what to get and was about to faint from hunger. And there in the frozen foods section, like a lighthouse in a sea storm, were Dr. Oetker’s frozen pizzas. We’ve had them before, and, they’re not terrible. In fact, we’ve grown sort of fond of them. However I don’t think I could ever, in good conscience, recommend them to a gastronomically-inclined friend. Two of those little guys, and a caesar salad would solve all my problems. As soon as I got home I preheated the oven. The house began to smell like burnt cherry pie, presumably because I did such a shitty job of cleaning the oven when my pie exploded last weekend. And then the Beast got home.
Beast: What’s that smell?
Foodie: Cherry pie.
Beast: Are you making another one?
Foodie: No, it’s the gunk that I didn’t get out of the oven being burned off.
Foodie: I got the Dr. Oetker’s pizza for dinner and makings for a caesar salad.
Beast: Oh. Great! But if you want to just cook one pizza, that’s fine. I’ll just have some salad.
Foodie: Did you already eat?
Beast: No! I’m just feeling like the cheese might bother my stomach a bit.
Foodie: But you must be starving!
Beast: Oh yes, I am starving.
Foodie: Don’t be crazy man! I’m making two pizzas and your stomach will be just fine.
Beast: You’re right.
Dinner was on the table (coffee table that is, in the living room) in about 15 minutes. We opened up a bottle of my favourite cheap white wine, Ruffino Orvieto Classico ($11.75), popped in an episode of Northern Exposure (season four), and were good to go.
Beast: You burned one of the pizzas.
Foodie: I know. I think it must be our oven because only one got burned. And that oven makes pies explode. It’s a shitty oven.
Beast: I have to tell you something.
Foodie: Go on.
Beast: I already ate dinner.
Foodie: I knew it! You’re such a terrible liar! Why would you do that when we had specific plans to meet at home for dinner together?
Beast: Because my friend wanted to get a burger after the movie and I didn’t want him to eat alone!
Foodie: Where did you go for this burger?
Beast: It was a banquet burger–from Fran’s. I also got french fries.
Foodie: I can’t believe you.
Beast: Actually, this pizza is my third dinner tonight. I got a hot dog from a vendor before the movie.
Foodie (shaking head in disbelief.)
Beast: Oh, my stomach hurts.
Foodie: Then stop eating.
Beast: Can you pass the salad please?
He finished everything and continued to moan about his stupid stomach. The good news is that I had the Beast right where I wanted him because he was wreathing in pain after eating three dinners: it was in that moment that he promised to help with dinners next week. It might mean we’ll be eating frozen lasagna and hot dogs but I don’t care. Sometimes just deciding what to eat is half the battle.
Because I was too weak to take photos of dinner last night, I thought I’d include some photos of my jam-making sessions from a couple of weeks ago.
My favourite type of plums to make jam with.
Stewing Ontario free-stone peaches.
But you know what? I have doubts that they were free-stone (because the flesh did not come away from the pit with any ease) and I doubt they were even from Ontario because the flesh was so mealy and sinewy.
The resulting peaches in brandy. It’s a recipe from the 1950s that was recently reprinted in the New York Times. I’m almost afraid to eat them because the peaches felt and looked like shit. Maybe I’ll give them away as Christmas presents.
Little baby chillies to make spicy strawberry jam (I use a recipe invented by my friend Giovanna.)
The Beast hates spicy strawberry jam. And he hates it when I paint my finger nails too. I think the jam is amazing with a bit of creamy cheese. And I think it’s nice when your nails match your jam.
The last of the sour cherry explosion pie. I ate it for breakfast at my work desk. Not all of it though.
Okay, I ate all of it.