Isn’t it amazing when someone else decides what to cook for dinner? Ladies, am I right? Or am I right? LOL!
Recently, the Beast not only decided what we were having for dinner but he also made the dinner. He prepared a batch of Bolognese–meat ragu–from scratch and assembled his own lasagna.
Coming home from work to find the house filled with the comforting aroma of meat sauce and the Beast tending to a batch of beschamel by the side of the stove, made me feel like how I imagine a Mad Men man might’ve felt in the early ’60s: full of pride, wanting to take my work pants off to get into some joggers and needing a drink.
I fixed us Martini Rossos on ice, with a dash of orange bitter while we shared the happenings of our respective days. The Beast recounted what has now become a fairly typical work-related sentiment: misery, and the inevitable depression that follows from hating your job.
Beast: I watched this video over and over again at work. [Keep your eyes on the kid on the far left who gets on the table.]
Beast: It actually makes me worried for my cognitive abilities. Seriously. It’s the only thing that didn’t make me miserable today. I watched it 17 times.
Foodie: I don’t know if I find it funny because of your reaction to it, if it’s actually just really, really funny.
Beast: Oh, it’s funny. There’s just so much satisfying drama in it.
Foodie: Are there carbs in this lasagna? Because I’m not eating carbs right now.
Beast: I think so. But will you look at this beschamel? Just look at it?
Foodie: Don’t you sometimes crave North American lasagna, though? You know, with cottage cheese?
Beast: Ah, I don’t think you’d find cottage cheese under the ingredients for lasagna Bolognese in the Silver Spoon cookbook. How was your day?
Foodie: Well, I finally finished that podcast for the slideshow of the Sistine Chapel. I got it down to just 27 minutes!
Beast: I wonder if that might be too long. Think about an iPad user. The video we just watched, for example, is 17 seconds.
Beast: God, I think this lasagna might be the best thing I’ve ever made.
Foodie: Well, look at you. What do you want? A fucking medal for cooking dinner?
And that is how our evening descended into Mommie Dearest-style territory. Instead of keeping that joy over having dinner prepared for me–from the initial conception, to the shopping, to the execution–I become heavy with rage and resentment over doing this very thing for years on end. Plus, he was right about the length of the podcast, of course. And instead of being thankful for his insight, as obvious as it was, I turned crazy. When I get like this, he pulls away from me, like a scared little puppy who’s been hit by an abusive owner.
It’s terrifying. I’m terrifying.
And I can’t even imagine how much more terrifying it was when the Beast found me some days later standing in front of the mirror, dressed in my running clothes, with a pair of scissors in my hands, looming over a sink filled with my hair.
Beast: What happened here?
Foodie: I cut my own hair. There were a few bits that were just bothering me. They kept flipping up, like a Jennifer Aniston cut, so I removed them. What do you think?
Beast: Are you okay?
Foodie: I think it will be okay in a few days, you know? And on the positive side, there’s nothing I can do about it now! [Laughing in a crazy way.]
The Beast decided that stuffed peppers were up next for his week-night dinner menu. He emailed me to ask for a list of ingredients, which I supplied, and then he picked up everything he needed and made these:
He was so busy in the kitchen that he wasn’t checking his iPhone, which was upstairs. Meanwhile, I texted him before I left the office, before I got on the subway and once I ascended from the subway. But there was no response. By the time I was on the streetcar, I was texting things like, “WHERE ARE YOU ARE YOU DEAD WHY ARE YOU NOT ANSWERING?”
I started to cry when I got on the streetcar.
After a few stops, I had hot tears running down my face. He was dead. And all I could think was how cruel I had been the other night. How would I carry on without him? Could I? No, I couldn’t.
When I got off the streetcar, someone called my name. It was a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, Natalie.
Natalie: Hey! How are you!
Foodie: I’m great! Oh gosh, sorry I’m crying like this it’s just that–
Natalie: Are you okay?
Foodie: Oh, totes! I’m awesome! Just a long day, you know?
I actually don’t remember what I said. I do know that Natalie was very kind and made me feel like it was typical to be crying on the street.
I ran up Garden Ave. with my stupid tote bag filled with all my stupid lunch containers and they were hitting each other and making so much noise and the thought of life without him by my side was making my legs shaky and there was no light on in the front window, which means I was right. He was dead. A terrible accident? Oh, Christ. I raced up the stairs, and at the top of them, that’s when the tears pounded out of my eyes. I heard Ella Fitzgerald playing in the kitchen and smelled those fucking stuffed peppers.
We ate them while watching the recently released Criterion Blu-ray of Heaven’s Gate; the ’70s film perhaps most famous for being the biggest financial flop in cinematic history, by the same director of the Deer Hunter, Michael Cimino.
Still traumatized, but slightly less crazy, I couldn’t be physically far from the Beast during dinner. Our elbows touched for most of it. Or I would stop eating and just hug him, my eyes swollen–and probably stained with mascara–and my Girl Interrupted tresses tucked behind my ears.
Beast: I wish Google had a function where you could just type “Kris Kristofferson” and it would tell you how to get his look.
Foodie: You are so much more handsome them him!
Beast: That’s a lie.
Foodie: Well, there’s a slight resemblance, at least. God, my mom used to play one of his records when I was five or six, and there was a line about him being in his underwear and I would listen to it over and over and just be rolling on the ground laughing whenever he said it. “Underwear.”
Beast: He was a Rhode’s Scholar, you know. Just incredible. And one time he delivered songs to Johnny Cash’s place by helicopter, unannounced! Hey,do we have hair products here that I could use to make my hair look like his? That soft? That shiny?
Foodie: I’m not sure that your hair will ever look like that.
Beast: Mr. Hands was my father’s name. Please, call me “Jazz”.
Foodie: What was that?
Beast: Just a joke I came up with.
Foodie: I love you.