Monday, back at work, I received an email from the Beast with a link to this recipe. He wanted to know which ingredients we had at home and which ones he would need to pick up. He was going to make dinner. Astounded, I wrote him back with the list of supplies he’d have to buy. I also offered to pick up a few things myself: You see, I feared that he’d be overwhelmed by not only deciding on what to eat but also the shopping and execution of the meal to boot. He responded with, “Don’t worry about a thing – going to hit No Frills on the way home.”
And did he ever.
Foodie: Who buys medium ground beef? And why did you buy a gazillion lbs. of it?
Beast: I emailed you asking what kind to buy but you never responded! Plus, it works out to be way cheaper if you buy this much.
Foodie: It’s disgusting! I can’t eat medium ground beef!
Beast: This is going to be great!
I felt my mood start to spiral out of control like a mad women’s. It was the medium ground beef: and it was about to push me over the edge. But on the ledge of the edge, I stopped myself. Stop being such a fucking miserable asshole. He’s making dinner. Just shut up. Just eat that gross meat and like it.
He set up his little recipe and was determined to follow it to a tee, something I never, ever do.
Foodie: Do you want me to chop the carrots, onions and celery for you?
Beast: No, I’m going to do everything! You can just relax and watch. Okay. So I’ve five minutes to chop one garlic clove.
Foodie: It’s says here two garlic cloves.
Beast: Oh fuck. Oh, can you get the spices ready for me?
Foodie: Sure I can.
Beast: When you chop carrots, how small do you make them? What about celery? Do I have to use my hands to break up the ground beef?
As I watched the Beast chop his vegetables, I knew that we wouldn’t be eating for many hours to come. Each cut was timidly made and was followed by a little sigh of relief. So I made us two cocktails and stood back to watch the show–and clean up all his dishes as he went along.
Beast: Oh shit. Is this on medium heat? What does it mean, “to simmer”? This is not as easy as it looks.
Foodie: I’m just happy that you’re making dinner–and that you decided what we were eating. This is huge progress.
Beast: I’m trying.
After what seemed like several more hours, dinner was served.
Foodie: Oh! I’m going to do it like you did and make them open-faced! How do you eat these things, anyway?
Beast: With a knife and a fork, dummy.
Foodie: Are you sure? I thought the whole point was that you picked them up and they’re sloppy.
Beast: Ah, no. Haven’t you ever eaten sloppy joes before?
Foodie: I don’t remember.
Beast: Trust me on this: it’s with a knife and a fork.
The Beast really, really liked his dinner. I liked it too. However I found the sloppy meat to be a bit on the sweet side, which I found a little distracting. On a positive note, though, I wasn’t disgusted by the taste of the medium ground beef.
Beast: This is so good! Isn’t it good?
Foodie: YES! IT IS REALLY GOOD! I LOVE IT!
Beast: You don’t like it?
Foodie: NO! I really do like it!
Beast: I’m having another one. Do you want another one? God, I wish we had cheese so I could melt some on top of the next sloppy joe.
Foodie: We could do something fun with the left-overs tomorrow night! Think of the possibilities! It’s essentially a ragu: we could stuff peppers, or just toss it up with some penne and parmigiano. Yes. That’s what we’ll do.
And that’s exactly what we did for Tuesday night’s dinner. But first, we played tennis. And the Beast made sure to dress the part.
Walking to the courts.
Beast: Are you feeling any better today?
Foodie: A little bit. No, actually. I feel so blue still. I just can’t put my finger on it.
Beast: Have you exercised today?
Foodie: I EXERCISE EVERY DAY AND WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY BY SAYING THAT RIGHT NOW.
Beast: Whoa! Sorrrrrry! I just meant that I bet you’ll feel better after tennis. (Pause) At least I know you didn’t have an affair in New York.
Beast (looking down at my legs): I don’t think I’ve ever seen those things so hairy. And your bikini line was atrocious before you left, so I knew you weren’t planning anything sneaky.
Foodie: You’re telling me. Those were some serious hair shorts.
Beast: You’re disgusting.
Foodie: You started this shit. Oh, and did I tell you that a nice group of men in New York, black men actually, found me to be quite fetching?
Foodie: Well, I walked by a bunch of boys, maybe in their 40s, just hanging around having some coffee one morning and they was all like, “Ummmmm, girl!” And I was all like, so surprised and I think I started giggling, maybe I even snorted, and then they was all like, “Shit girl–there ain’t nothing funny ’bout that! No sir!” I don’t know what that was but they was all like–
Beast: Why are you talking like that?
Foodie: Because I shared a lovely moment with them and I’m trying to express it. It was just nice because it wasn’t sleezy or gross. I guess because I don’t look like the kind of girl who gets whistled at, you know? There was a sweet humour to it. (Pause.) Do you think you find me attractive because you have a black man’s soul?
After tennis (or batting practice, practically), I decided to open up a special bottle of white to go with our special sloppy joe left-over extravaganza.
We curled up with our plates of penne tossed with the Beast’s meat sauce, some grated parmigiano and fresh basil (which ended up tasting like Hamburger Helper, or in other words, delicious), and watched a few episodes of The Wire.
And I felt…better.
Foodie: Sloppy joes *1/2, Homemade Hamburger Helper Penne **1/2
Beast: Sloppy joes **1/2, Homemade Hamburger Helper Penne **