On the phone with the Beast before biking home from work.
Foodie: We need to scratch the dinner I was going to make tonight.
Beast: You don’t want gnocchi?
Foodie: I really want gnocchi but I accidentally had a Festive Special at Swiss Chalet for lunch today and that means I need to take it easy at dinner. So I was thinking I would just eat my salad that I was supposed to have for lunch for dinner.
Beast: What kind of salad? Would I like it, too?
Foodie: I don’t think so. I just took the leftover vegetables from the night before and added it to a bunch of arugola.
Beast: Yuck! I hate leftovers!
Foodie: I know you do.
Beast: You know what you should call your autobiography?
Beast: I Could Get a Lunch Out of That, the Jessica Allen story.
It’s true. I love turning leftovers into healthy lunches! I LOVE IT! Have some leftover boiled potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts? Why not add them to a bunch of arugola, throw in a little chopped mint and whip up a simple dressing of lime juice, olive oil, a touch of white wine vinegar and just a nip of dijon?
Foodie (yelling from the kitchen): Do you want any of this leftover pasta with peas?
Beast: I HATE LEFTOVERS! Plus, I didn’t really like it, even when it was fresh. Don’t tell Elena that, though.
My friend Elena, a real life Italian, described her favourite comfort pasta to me recently and it sounded so perfectly good that I tried to make it for the Beast and me last week. Before I started, I sent her an email with what I remembered her telling me were the instructions:
So, I finely chop some red onion and get it going in some olive oil, add the frozen peas plus some water so that they’re just covered and let that simmer. Meanwhile, you’re cooking your pasta. When the pasta is done, drain and add it to the peas. Toss it all together. Don’t add cheese. Maybe salt and pepper. Is that it?!?!?!!?
Elena wrote back within seconds:
I didn’t respond because I was still at work. She was so panicked that I would mess up the dish that she called me, in a real state. The key is, as it turns out, to cook the pasta with the peas and onions by adding about an inch of water and doing it slowly. As the water is absorbed by the pasta, a creamy sort of sauce is achieved because of all that starch. And you definitely don’t add cheese (when I suggested that to Elena, her face contorted in disgust and offence, like I suggested adding endangered panda bear meat, or something.
Foodie: I added too much water and I cooked it too fast but I’ll nail the recipe next time. But I still thought it was good. (Pause) It’s just a little bit of pasta so I’m still having a healthy dinner, don’t you think?
Beast: Sure. Will you bring me a bowl of Cool Ranch Doritos please? As my appetizer? And have you opened up the wine yet? I’ll have some of that, too.
While I curled up with my salad, plus a modest portion of some leftover pasta,
the Beast prepared his meal of broiled hotdogs and chips.
And we watched Gosford Park by the light of the Christmas tree and the glow of a fire log.
Beast: You know, an old friend from highschool chose Emily Mortimer as his number one. Isn’t that weird?
Foodie: Number one, as in which celebrity he’d have sex with?
Beast: Yes. I just think it’s such an odd choice.
Foodie: Who would you choose?
Beast: Jessica Simpson.
Foodie: No, seriously: who would you choose?
Beast: Jessica Simpson, Beyonce, Mariah Carey…
Foodie: Are you kidding me?
Beast: You know what they say; the bigger the berry, the sweeter the juice.
Beast: Who else…let me see. Oh yes, Eva Mendes for sure. Maybe Nikki Minaj.
Foodie: Who the hell is that?
Beast: Ah, she’s a raptress.
Foodie: Didn’t you used to be obsessed with classy ladies, like Rachel Weisz and Jennifer Connelly?
Beast: I’m done with them now. Connelly is far too severe for my liking these days. Look at Kristen Scott Thomas in this movie. Disgusting!
Foodie: Are you kidding me? Look at her back in that dress! Just beautiful. So defined.
Foodie: I don’t know how I feel about all this information.
Beast: Who are yours?
Foodie: I’d choose to have sex with fictional characters, if I could, like Tristan from Legends of the Fall, Nathanial from Last of the Mohicans, Russell Crowe as Gladiator but not as any other character, Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. Actually, I’d have sex with Viggo Mortensen out of that character, too. And I’d have sex with that guy we both like so much…what’s that actor’s name from Step Brothers, and Party Down?
Beast: Adam Scott.
Foodie: Yes, him. I’d have sex with him. Paul Rudd, too, but just for fun. And let me see…who else. Oh, this guy here in this movie, Jeremy Northam. For sure. Also, Michael Fassbender as Rochester in Jane Eyre, and maybe Colin Firth and maybe Hugh Grant, in his prime.
Beast: I’d have sex with Hugh Grant in his prime.
Foodie: And Daniel Craig. Oh boy, would I have sex with Daniel Craig. I just want to feel the weight of his body pressing down on mine. Can you imagine? Oh my god.
Beast: You’re disgusting.
This morning, I woke to the putrid smell of stale rot ass as I walked into the kitchen.
Foodie: What the hell was that? Next time give me some warning so I can evacuate the room! That’s disgusting! I can’t breathe!
Beast: Well ex-cuuuse me! You try eating hotdogs, Cool Ranch Doritos, Lay’s potato chips and cookies and drinking gin and tonics, scotch and white wine and see what happens.
Sometimes, the truth hurts.