(Sunday night: The Beast gets home at 8:00pm and finds the Foodie crying while watching TV.)
Beast: What’s wrong?
Foodie: (Points to the television).
Beast: What are you watching there? Is that the Horse Whisperer?
Foodie: (Nods yes.)
Beast: Are you okay?
Foodie: (Nods yes.)
Beast: You’re not in the least bit impressed that I immediately recognized the film?
Foodie: (Nods yes.)
Beast: Are you too emotional to talk right now?
Foodie: (Turns off TV) No.
Beast: What’s for dinner?
Foodie: I’ll show you!
I lead the Beast into the Kitchen to reveal my efforts, which included three dishes that I’ve never made before: Cod with fennel and orange en papillote; leeks with basil and mozzarella (both recipes from Mireille Guiliano’s new French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook), and lemon roasted potatoes (from Jaime Oliver’s April/Map edition of his magazine called…Jaime.) Sounds healthy, don’t you think? Well, we desperately needed some lighter fare after over-indulging earlier in the weekend. Let me break it down for you: Harvey’s on the train from Toronto to London; Dairy Queen blizzards upon arrival in London; and, get ready for it….KFC.
And my mom provided, among other things, three buckets of KFC. It was just a wonderful affair. Uncle Ron recounted a number of family stories, one of which detailed how my great-grandmother once wielded a cleaver and chased my philandering (and naked) great-grandfather down the street. We talked and laughed the afternoon away.
The Beast even invented his own special snack wrap, using KFC skin, havarti cheese, salami and some nice healthy lettuce.
For dessert, we had slab cake from Loblaw’s. The Beast and I picked it up with my mom that very morning. He got to witness first-hand how my mom flirts with young men not once, but twice that day. The first incident was at Costco where my mom bee-lined to a particular check-out station. Her motivation became apparent when we spotted the bagger boy, who was well over six feet, and bulging with bronzed muscles. “That’s Jeremy,” she said. “He’s my favourite.” The second victim was the nice young Loblaw’s man who brought us the slab cake. “I bet you wish you could come home with us instead of being stuck at work,” she said. “They’ll be plenty of food!” Wink, wink.
But that cake….It was divine. (Although a few of us were slightly concerned that the blue icing permanently stained our fingers, and in the case of my mom, her wrists (?) If it was that potent, what would it do to our insides? After our second servings though, we were too high on sugar to care.)
By Sunday, we needed sodium and sugar relief. So,while the Beast was working, I spent the day preparing our dinner in between of working on a story, doing laundry, and putting away all of our winter shit. I got the cod, orange and fennel slices ready to go en papillote (mom, that means, “in parchment,” I just looked it up.)
But the pièce de résistance was the fish in a bag! And it wasn’t just me that thought so either.
Beast: Wow! This is really good! And I don’t even like fish!
Foodie: It is pretty good isn’t it!
Beast: This whole meal is amazing. You really outdid yourself with this one kiddo.
Foodie: I’m not too crazy about the leek dish though. I thought would be the real winner out of the three dishes.
Beast: I agree. Do you mind if I just eat the crispy basil and cheese off the top of the rest of the leeks?
Foodie: No, not at all.
Beast: One more thing: Why are we eating at the table?
Beast: You don’t want to watch the end of the Horse Whisperer?
Foodie: Heck no, I was just flipping around the channels and happened to start watching it and happened to start crying.
Foodie: Look how much we’re communicating at the table. Do you think we’d be communicating so much if we were watching TV?
Beast: You’re right. This is really nice.
Beast: Want to eat mangos for dessert and start watching, A Man for all Seasons? (Some movie about Henry VIII that the Beast rented.)
Foodie: Oh god yes!
So we washed up the dishes together and opened up our very own special box of Alphonso mangos (from Mumbai). My friend recently wrote a story on these absurdly fragrant and sweet beauties and after reading it I went straight to Little India to pick up a case.
There’s a particular sensuality to their shape, their blushing exterior and their unbelievably juicy flesh that makes me quiver, sort of like how I felt while I watched “Jeremy” bag our groceries at Costco.