Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Culinary Creativity

My husband’s mother was a very good cook. In fact, his whole family is full of people who love to cook. His grandmother, mother and father all owned restaurants at some time. This makes him a natural born lover of food. He just didn’t know what he was getting himself into by marrying me.

My mother and father worked very hard and long hours when I was growing up. We ate a lot of hamburger helper and canned vegetables. My mother never really seemed to enjoy being in the kitchen so I didn’t learn all the secrets and tips that many women bring with them into marriage.

It’s not that I don’t know how to cook. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking. I just didn’t have an arsenal of information to build on when were first wed.

In the beginning of our marriage, I made my debut in creative culinary arts. One night I was making meatloaf. I was so excited because this was not something my family ate when we were growing up but Michael and I both very much enjoyed down-home country cooking. I let Michael know what I was planning and got him all excited about the evening’s meaty meal. The time came to make the meatloaf and I realized that I didn’t have any crackers or bread crumbs. We only had one car which Michael had with him at work. I couldn’t walk to the grocery store and be back in time to have dinner ready. I really wanted to please Michael’s tastes but I had no reasonable substitute for the missing ingredient.

This meatloaf had to be good. So I closed my eyes and made a surprising substitution. I chose to take a chance not knowing if it would ruin dinner or be a masterpiece.

When Michael sat down to enjoy the dinner I gave him no indication of my dilemma. I didn’t even hint that there might be anything wrong with dinner at all. I just watched him very closely for any hint of displeasure. There was nothing. He genuinely enjoyed the meal and even commented on my first big attempt at cooking.

My substitution went completely under the radar. No raised eyebrows or suspicions. That is until later that night when Michael was looking for a little snack in the cupboards.

“Hey, what happened to the rest of my Pringles?”

I had to tell him the truth and he had no objections. The meatloaf did turn out yummy.

Recently I desperately wanted to make some Magic Bars only to find that my dear husband had given the kids almost all of the graham crackers for snack. So again I had a choice to make.

I scoured the pantry to find some reduced fat Triscuits and a few packets of McDonald’s granola that I’d saved from the yogurt parfaits. (I really don’t know how I thought I was going to use these packets but I just couldn’t waste them, and they give them to me attached to the parfait.) So that’s what I used.

They were so good. The granola added a little bit of cinnamon flavor and the triscuits gave a touch of salt.

Michael didn’t notice. Most of the time he can’t tell at all. But he always gets suspicious when I ask him, “So what did you think?”

1 comment:

  1. You and Jenn must have went to the same culinary school. She is always asking me, "so what do you think?" and I know that she's done something different and I need to figure it out. :) great post!