The Beast and I drove to London, Ont. recently to visit with my mom. The two-hour drive there was eventful.
Foodie: We should really do a weekend trip to Buffalo, don’t you think? We could stay at a fancy hotel, which would be like super-cheap because it’s Buffalo, and we could go to the Albright Knox and eat chicken wings at the Anchor Bar and look at Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and that Louis Sullivan building, too. What’s that called again? And that would be just on Friday night and Saturday morning. And then we could stay in Niagara-on-the Lake on Saturday night at some enchanting little inn and just be enchanted and stuff. We could drive back Sunday morning in time to get you to work. What do you think?
Beast: The Guaranty Building.
Foodie: What? Maybe we’ll do that road trip for your birthday instead of going to the cottage.
Beast: I’ve told you again and again that all I want for my birthday this year is presents!!
Foodie: What are you, 12?
Beast: Does a 12-year-old want leather house shoes from Brooks Brothers? Use your fucking head!
For the last two weeks, the Beast has been texting and emailing me links to potential birthday gifts. He wants those slippers, even though he already has three pairs. He also wants leather sandals and espadrilles. He wants a shit ton of footwear is what he wants.
Because the USB portal conked out during our drive, we listened to Top 40 radio, something I, at least, don’t get the opportunity to do very often.
Foodie: God this music is fantastic! That Say Something song? It’s just so sad and beautiful. It’s like I’ve heard it all before but I don’t know the lyrics, you know? That would be a really funny bit, don’t you think? I sing along to a Top 40 song as best I can.
Beast: Like you’ve been doing for the last five songs?
Beast: But you’re the only one laughing at yourself.
Foodie [laughing]: Bingo! Isn’t it hilarious!?
Beast: I think it would get annoying after a while.
Foodie: Did you just hear that? I just heard, “You’re my kryptonite, you keep making me weak, yeah frozen and I can’t breathe.” Did I really just hear that? Is that a real lyric? Like a current lyric?
Beast: Yes it is, unless we’re listening to Spoof FM.
Foodie: That’s a good one. Let’s make sure we get all this shit into the joke book.
The joke book is a book we set aside to record funny ideas for sketches and bits. So far we have one page. I don’t want to tell you what’s in there, in case someone steals some of the ideas, but there are some pretty solid jokes.
One joke, which we’ve been doing all the time lately, is pretending that things are really, really bad in our relationship after something inconsequential happens. Like, let’s say we both get home from work. Maybe I will say, “Listen, I’m really sorry I didn’t respond right away to your five texts you sent me about your outfit today and how amazing it is.” And the Beast will say, “I feel like you don’t respect or honour me.” This will be followed by a moment of silence. Then, maybe I’ll say, “I don’t know if we can get through this. But I’m willing to fight for us.” And he’ll say, “I just don’t fucking know. Do you think we can?” And I’ll say, “I promise to love and honour you.” And he’ll say, “I love you so much, and I don’t want to lose you.” Then we will hug and laugh. Then maybe he’ll creepily whisper into my ear, “This birthday is going to be a fucking test of how much you really love and honour me. Get me presents.”
The problem with this joke is the joke will be on us when the shit really does hit the fan and something goes wrong in our relationship. Neither of us will be laughing then.
But right now, we are laughing all the time. And hopefully, we will remember sunnier days, like today. It’s so sunny because I’m home alone, which gives a person a chance to miss the person they live with. Plus, I had no idea what to make for dinner and then the Beast texted me this:
Springtime gnocchi bake (It’s really Giovanna’s recipe):
1 lb. potato gnocchi
zucchini (skinny ones)
salt, pepper, olive oil
Cut your zucchini into half-moons (or full moons if you want.) Fry those up in some olive oil. When they start to brown, add some minced garlic (maybe a clove or two?) Then add your cherry tomatoes, maybe a container and a another half? Lower the heat and cook this until those cherry tomatoes pop and you get a nice sauce going. Meanwhile, cook your gnocchi according to the instructions. Add the drained gnocchi to the sauce. Add a ball of fresh mozzarella that you’ve chopped up and a good grating of fresh Parmigiano. Stir. Maybe reserve some pasta water and add that in, too. Maybe like a 1/2 cup. Now you’ve got a creamy tomato sauce. Serve the gnocchi topped with fresh basil, some more parm, if you like, and big dollop of fresh ricotta. Drizzle a little olive oil on top to make it look fancy, along with some freshly cracked pepper and sea salt.