Monthly Archives: December 2011

Leftovers for One

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?

Foodie: What?

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.

Foodie: Silence

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.

Beast: Gross!

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.

Foodie: ***

Beast: ***

Making Some Lists and Checking Them Never

Saturday morning. In the kitchen.

Foodie: Well, good morning. I can’t believe I slept in this late! Oh look, you’ve already made the coffee.

Beast: And I’m making breakfast, too. Do you want some?

Foodie: Nice kimono. And that’s my belt.

Beast: I’m just borrowing it.

Foodie: What are you making?

Beast: Toasted white bread with peanut butter and jam.

Foodie: Where did you get that store-bought jam?

Beast: I bought it.

Foodie: Why don’t you use all the homemade jam we have?

Beast: It’s all got mold on it. It’s disgusting.

Foodie: It does not! Look at this (rummaging through the fridge). Let’s see. This is a plum one I made in 2008.  Oh shit.

Beast: MOLD! You’re trying to kill me.

Foodie: Just scrape it off a bit.

Beast: Do you want any breakfast?

Foodie: Just coffee. And I promised your mother that we’d get our Shoppers lists to her before noon so let’s get to work.

Every Christmas the Beast’s mother, bless her heart, prepares giant stockings for her four sons, plus their girlfriends/wives, stuffed with wonderful necessities from Shoppers Drug Mart, like tooth brushes, deodorant and soap, plus other little treats that she picks up during sales throughout the year, like fancy packages of paper napkins. Occasionally, there are product samples from the hospital where she works. I remember one year getting a box of scalpel blades.  You know, for making crafts.

I still remember the year I opened up my first Marg Gadke stocking. First of all, I didn’t come from a family big on stockings so I was just happy to get one. Second of all, I think the Beast’s mother was thrilled to finally be filling a stocking for a girl so there were some choice products in there. As the boys pulled out Chapsticks, bottles of shampoo and sports socks without batting an eyelash, I delighted over every singular object in my stocking:  “Oh great! BOBBY PINS! I totally needed these!  OH. MY. GOD. Will you look at these napkins with the teddy bears wearing Santa hats on them? Too cute! And lookie here! A pad of paper from a medical conference in China!  I love it! And three gallons of peach-scented body wash with special oatmeal elixirs mixed in for softer skin! BONUS!!!!!!!!”

Every year, the Beast’s mother hounds us for our Shoppers list. I learned last year, thanks to Beast’s sister-in-law, Laura, that doing a little research pays off. Last year Laura scored fancy mascara, lipsticks, body creams and maybe even a nail polish! But I just didn’t get around to scanning the aisles of my local Shoppers. To be honest, I rarely go into Shoppers any longer because I’m still using up the shit from last year’s stocking.

Foodie: Okay, I’ll write down your list if you dictate it to me.  And then I’ll do mine.

Beast: Fine. Condoms, the morning after pill…

Foodie: Okay, c-o-n-d—Hey wait a second!

Beast: Just write it down! My mom will love it!

Foodie: Please be serious. We need to get her these lists.

               The Beast

  • Advil liquid gels
  • New tooth brush
  • Tooth paste (Crest paste advanced whitening)
  • Benadryl
  • Crest glide floss
  • Conditioner (John frieda if they have it)
  • Shampoo
  • Q tips
  • Zest soap
  • Baby powder (Secret) deodorant
  • Ojon brand mousse (with a comb on top)
  • Odour destroyers
  • Cushioned insoles
  • Denture tabs for night guard

               The Foodie

  • Shaving cream
  • Venus razor replacement blades
  • Body wash (Dove original smell)
  • Dove deodorant (original smell)
  • Karastase shampoo (orange top if they have it–might not. It’s high end Loreal)
  • Advil liquid gels
  • Hair spray (evolve brand or something else but nothing too scented)
  • Maybelline brown mascara (that really popular one with pink body and green top!)
  • Tanning cream for body!
  • Anything cool that Laura asks for but not the St. Ives apricot face wash because it’s got cammomile in it. And I’m allergic to cammomile.

Foodie: Okay, great work. Now I have a really good idea. Let’s go to the No-Frills today and go grocery shopping!

Beast: Silence

Foodie: Think about how you’re always so upset that there are no snacks in the house! Think about how I came home last night starving and there was nothing to eat. We haven’t done a big shopping trip for months and if we go together we can make it into a fun activity. We can make a list. Okay. I’m ready for dictation.

Beast: Fine. Hotdogs, hotdog buns, chips, Chef Boyardee ravioli, cookies, cheese slices…

Foodie: We have cheese slices.

Beast: No we don’t. You bought no-name ones and they’re disgusting. Also, pepperoni pizzas. I like to call that the Kevin McAllister.

Foodie: Is that the kid from Home Alone?

Beast: Yes. Fine. I’ll go with you but can I play a little music first?

Foodie: That works out perfectly. I need to put in a couple of hours of work, plus make a list of holiday chores we need to do.

Beast: Silence

I managed to get a lot done. Until the Beast came downstairs from his music room.

Foodie: I could hear you playing up there. You sounded great.

Beast: Thanks. Do you want me to go get my saxophone and play for you down here?

Foodie: Um, I’m going to say no, only because I’m really getting a lot of work done and the sound of live saxophone music playing right beside me could be distracting. But thank you. Do you want to see the chore list so far? I also came up with a list of possible meals we can make this month. That way, we can buy the dry ingredients at No-Frills. But we’ll pick up the fresh ingredients from the green grocer as we see fit.

I turned around and the Beast was gone. He reappeared moments later.

Foodie: That sounds great but I need you to stop that right now thank you. Please stop.

Beast: Playing smooth jams

Foodie: Fine, I’ll just shout out the the list of chores that need to get done and you can look at the winter meal list later. (Note: lists below written on decorative paper found in a Marg Gadke stocking circa 2009.)

Eventually, we did go grocery shopping. And it was slightly more fun than going on my own, which I’m quite accustomed to doing, all the time, on my bike. When I go, I’m limited by the size of the milk crate that’s affixed to the back of my bike. Still, I can get a lot of groceries in there. Every time the Beast put stuff in our shopping cart, I couldn’t imagine walking home with it.

But we did it.

We also got fixings for a fast and easy Saturday night dinner: a little dinner I like to call, “fancy sandwich night”.  You buy some highly processed cold cuts (in this case, Genoa salami), fry up some onions and peppers, scrape the mold off some jarred corn relish, slice up an avocado and slap down some arugola into a crusty kaiser roll. We also had some haloumi that we fried up for a side dish, plus some Lay’s regular potato chips.

It was a fine meal. And we made it together.

Foodie: ** 1/2

Beast: ***