My mom doesn’t call me much, not because she doesn’t love me but because she always thinks she’s going to be interrupting me. The first thing she does when we’re on the phone together is apologize for calling and the first thing I do is squeal with delight because I’m talking to my mom. It’s an odd song and dance–but it works for us. Why don’t I simply call her more often? I have an irrational fear of telephones, which has burdened many a friendship. My mom understands this almost too well: what I mean is, sometimes I’d wish she’d yell at me and say, “Call your mother more you little asshole!”
Last week my mom called me twice in one day, surely a record–and I couldn’t have been happier. The second call came during a commercial break during The Super Bowl. She wanted to fill me in on the party she and Russ were having.
Mom: Oh you should just see us! We’ve got wings and carrot sticks with dip and green peppers too–oh wait, you don’t like green peppers.
Foodie: I’m coming around on them more and more though.
Mom: And we’re curled up and the fire is going.
Foodie: You must be so hot! I’m imagining you in a t-shirt.
Mom: Of course, and my tordidoors.
Tordidoors are what my mom calls her home-time pants. They’re not really jogging pants or pajama bottoms–they’re more of a legging, but they’re not at all tight or constrictive. They’re black and I think she’s gets them from Walmart because Walmart is the only place that sells any sort of pant with an 18 inch inseam. I don’t know why she calls them tordidoors but the name has stuck. When the Beast and I visit her, sometimes she jokes about getting the Beast to wear a pair around the house, so he’ll be more comfortable. I hope that someday this actually happens.
Foodie: Who are you cheering for?
Mom: Oh Pittsburg of course.
Foodie: What are they, the Pirates or something?
Mom: No! They’re the (pauses and starts talking to Russ)–Russ! Do you know what she just said? She asked if they were the Pirates! (Back to the phone) No sweetie, they’re the Pittsburg Steelers. Oh they just showed a picture of “Carmen Diaz” with her sports player boyfriend.
Foodie: Derek Jeter?
Mom: How do you know his name and not the name of the team who’s playing in the Super Bowl?
Foodie: Because I love celebrity gossip, that’s why. He also dated Kate Hudson and–
Mom (with great pride): That’s right sweetie! And Rene Zell, Zellwer, Zergert…
Foodie: Rene Zellwegger.
Mom: Yes, her. Well, I should let you get back to work.
Foodie: I’m nearly done thank goodness.
Mom: Oh I wish I could finish it for you. You know, I just watched an old movie today on Turner Classic Movies with, oh, what’s his name. Anyway, he’s a reporter and an angel comes to finish his column.
Foodie: Jimmy Stewart?
Mom: Yes! I wish I could do that for you right now.
Foodie: Oh god, me too.
At least I’d made beef bourguignon earlier in the day so Sunday night dinner would be a no brainer. I got the recipe from this month’s Chatelaine in a food feature on slow-cookers. It was dead simple to make.
You just had to dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker and then turn it on. And just before the Beast got home I finished my work and dinner was ready so I tried on a couple of things I purchased at a recent literary fundraiser.
Beast: What the fuck do you have on?!
Foodie: What, this? Oh these are pajamas that I bought at a fundraiser last night.
Beast: They are….something else. No, I’m just going to say it: those are hideous.
Foodie: The pattern was designed by an artist you know. They are limited edition Tori Burch pajamas. Did you see my shoes?
Beast: Yes I see your shoes–wait a second! Are those real?
Foodie: They most certainly are.
I found myself (actually, my friend Amy found them and let me buy them even though they were her size too) a pair of black Christian Louboutin four inch heels. I think they’re from the 80s because they’re awfully pointy and there’s no platform which makes them nearly impossible to stand in, let alone walk in. I figure they’re practical for around the house though.
We plated our slow cooker dinner and gathered ’round the electric glow of the television.
Foodie: This tastes like nothing!
Beast: I didn’t want to say anything but you’re right. And the carrots are still hard and the beef isn’t falling apart.
Foodie: It said to cook it for eight hours on slow. I must have cooked it close to nine hours. I don’t get it. Plus, there are some really flavourful ingredients in here and you can’t taste one of them!
Beast: This is bullshit. I’m so sorry it didn’t turn out. I’ll tell you what: I’ll be in charge of dinner tomorrow night because I know you’ve got so much to do before you leave me by myself and go on vacation to have affairs in Cuba.
Foodie: Are you serious? That would be really great. I’d appreciate it so much.
Beast: Consider it done.
We actually finished the left-over beef bourguignon the next night–which was much improved after being slowly cooked for a few more hours but still didn’t come close to a proper beef bourguignon. And the next night, I got a call from the Beast while I was on the street car headed home at about eight in the evening.
Beast: How about grilled cheeses and soup for dinner?
Foodie: Sounds perfect!
Beast: What kind of soup do you want?
Foodie: I think there’s a can of Campbell’s bean with bacon in the cupboard.
Foodie: Hey, here’s a thought: would you consider making me a grilled cheese using the Epi loaf of multi-grain bread and some old cheddar?
Beast: (Long pause) O K A Y.
I came home to this:
The first plate is mine: the Beast made me the gourmet grilled cheese I requested, plus a classic one made with white Wonder bread and a Kraft cheese slice. The second plate belongs to the Beast: he fashioned some broiled wieners wrapped in Kraft cheese slices and white Wonder bread, secured them with tooth-picks and then fried them in butter.
I’ve never been more proud and disgusted all at the same time, until the next night when the Beast brought home a very exotic dinner:
He picked up some specialties from a Vietnamese sandwich shop on College at Ossington. The sandwiches cost $2.50 each. He bought four: three for him and one for me. The potato chips, a Western compliment to the Asian party mix and banana rice cakes, were a nice touch. The entire dinner, which should have fed a family of four, cost only $17.
I’m always moaning and groaning about having to make all the dinner decisions night after night. Turns out the Beast is more than capable of planning healthy and balanced meals. (Healthy and balanced if you were living in a parallel universe where Macaulay Culkin circa Home Alone did the cooking.)
Slow cooker beef bourguignon: Foodie *1/2 Beast *
Wiener wraps and canned soup: Foodie ** Beast ****
Exotic Vietnamese dinner: Foodie * Beast ****