Cheap eats: chicken fingers and poutine (on sale)

I took my mom to Costco in London, Ont. on Saturday. As we walked the aisles I saw her smiling at everyone she passed. This is typical behaviour. She’s a very amiable woman. But this time, something was different. It was as though she was attempting to will people to acknowledge her intense gaze, not so that she could share her enthusiasm over the contents of her shopping cart–“the shepherd’s pie is to die for!“–but so she could say, “Yes, yes this is Jess from The Social. And she is my daughter.”

Someone finally bought into it, and my mom couldn’t have been more thrilled. “I saw you looking at her,” she whispered to a  lovely young woman who was  picking up Thanksgiving provisions along with the rest of the city, “and I wanted to tell you it really is her. She’s my daughter, you know.”  The woman smiled, told us about the Brie on sale in the next aisle, and was on her way.

The experience was nothing like walking the frozen food aisles of Loblaws last week with the Beast. We were at a loss over what to make for dinner, a complicated condition that has plagued us for a decade now.

Beast: What about fish sticks?

Foodie: I don’t know if I feel like that. I vote for chicken fingers.

Beast: But then we have to buy plum sauce.

Foodie: And…your point is?

Beast: Okay, how about these ones?

Foodie: Those look like garbage. We should get these–they’re restaurant-style, as in very fancy.

Beast: I’d prefer these ones. Plus you get more for less money.

Foodie: Trust me on this one. And dinner is on me so let’s find the plum sauce aisle.

Beast: Don’t forget French fries.

Foodie: Oh yeah. I’ll tell you what: you can pick out the French fries.

Beast: I don’t care what kind we get. I’m already extremely depressed.

Foodie: Are you kidding me? We are having an amazing night! This is like an awesome date! We’re learning about each others likes and dislikes and really communicating. How about crinkle cut?

Beast: Okay. Can we get a frozen vegetable, just to make this dinner less depressing?

Foodie: You better believe it. Any kind you want. Dinner is on me!

Beast: How about these peas?

Foodie: No, not those ones–the ones right beside them.

Beast: What’s the difference?

Foodie: Just trust me.

We got home, pre-heated the oven and prepared two baking trays, one with the restaurant-style chicken fingers and the other with the crinkle-cut French fries, and got those frozen peas cooking on the stovetop.

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Dinner was just what we were expecting: very average, yet totally satisfying. Basically, it was like the movie Gone Girl on a plate.

We saw the film on Tuesday night, which, as luck would have it, was cheap night. Tickets were only $8. Before we met up for the 6:10 p.m. screening, we decided to get a drink at The Ballroom, a bowling alley/bar/restaurant across the street from the theatre.

Foodie: I can’t believe you want to see this movie!

Beast: I’m interested in anything David Fincher does.

Foodie: But you hated House of Cards. OMG cocktails are only $3 here on Tuesdays! How is this even possible?

Beast: But I loved The Social Network, The Game, Fight Club, and especially Zodiac. I know we just watched Zodiac but I will watch it again. I’d even consider giving The Curious Case of Benjamin Button another go. I’m getting a gin and tonic.

Foodie: David Fincher directed that movie? I hated that movie. Maybe I’ll get a gin and tonic, too! Oh my god!

Beast: Are you not even going to say a word about my outfit?

Foodie: Oh, I’m sorry. I really like it?

Beast: I thought about adding a white oxford shirt underneath the rugby shirt but decided not to at the last minute.

Foodie: How many layers are you actually wearing?

Beast: Just three: the rugby shirt underneath a Levi’s denim jacket underneath a Burberry trench coat. The flyer that we got in the mail today from Ralph Lauren suggested treating denim like a sweater in terms of layering.

Foodie: Holy shit. Are you ready for this?

Beast: [Silence]

Foodie: Poutine is on special tonight, too! Two orders for only $12!

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Foodie: I just can’t believe it. I was already having so much fun already and now we are basically eating and drinking for free.

Beast: Well, we were going to split one poutine for $7 and then we ordered two for $12 so I’m not entirely sure about that.

Foodie [unbuttoning pants]: Oh my god I’m so full and I’m so happy that I wore my boyfriend jeans.

Beast: That should be the title of your memoir.

Foodie: I’m So Happy I Wore My Boyfriend Jeans?

Beast: Do you know what mine is going to be?

Foodie: What?

Beast: I Hate All My Socks. Like, literally. I hate fucking hate them all. I opened up my sock drawer this morning and felt like I was going to vomit.

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Foodie: I’m like literally so full that it hurts. Aren’t you full?

Beast: Well, let’s just say I don’t feel hungry.

Foodie: Oh god I feel so uncomfortable.

I was uncomfortable again last night at the Beast’s family’s Thanksgiving dinner. And not just because the Beast (very enthusiastically) insisted on bringing up Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomanic in great detail–“I’ve never seen that many erect penises”–in a familial setting. I was pretty stressed out beforehand because I hadn’t had my daily bowel movement, a non-event that could have really effected how much I was able to consume. Normally the evacuation happens after my first cup of black coffee, right after I finish reading the front page of the newspaper. It’s a routine as regular as us not knowing what to have for dinner. But my morning was thrown off because I stayed the night at my mom’s place along with my brother, sister in law and my 18-month-old nephew. And come morning, there was no time for evacuations.

It had been a harrowing night. I had asked my brother and sister in law if I could have a “sleep over” with my nephew. “But he doesn’t sleep through the night,” they warned me. “Uh guys, don’t worry,” I assured them. “I’ve got this.” Overwhelmed with the idea of a good night’s sleep, they agreed. And besides, how hard could it be?

Turns out, it was very hard. Things went wrong, first at 11:oo p.m., then again at 1:00 a.m, followed by three more awakenings until 6:00 a.m.

Come morning time, there had been five awakenings, which equated to zero evacuations, maybe because my clock–both the biological and the dumping sort–had been turned off because as you know, everything spiritually and physically about us is connected.

Rest assured, despite no evacuations, I was able to eat two helpings of Thanksgiving dinner not only because the Beast’s parents put out such a splendid spread but also because I wore Lycra leggings. And I’m thankful for that.

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4 responses to “Cheap eats: chicken fingers and poutine (on sale)

  1. Maureen Newport

    Nice to see you seem a little more lighthearted, good do over on the chicken finger dinner story. Love your mom at Costco, I would do the same, no better feeling than sharing the pride in your children. Hope everything else is now running smoothly my dear lol….Happy Thanksgiving

  2. Know exactly how your Mom feels. I unashamedly brag about my children and grandchildren.

  3. I’m not currently in a relationship, but your portrayal of the negotiation over the chicken fingers makes me think that maybe I *could* be in one. And might really enjoy it. Thank you for this glimpse into your lives.

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