Thursday Thought-Things I Don’t Get: Food Art

Social Media brings some interesting things into our lives. Take food as art for example.

I’ve seen stunning creations. Like a peacock wedding cake. Or this face. Or this cake. Or this truly awesome Halloween concoction?

I understand that presentation is important. But when presentation becomes the thing instead of flavor, I’m gone. Who wants to destroy something that must have taken hours to create? I respect the artistry. But food is made to eat.

MJ Monday-Meals: My Food Foibles-Hard Boiled Eggs

As much as I loathe grocery shopping, I do find myself annoyed that the current pandemic (and my children’s insistence that I don’t go out) prevents me from cooking a wider of variety of meals and experimenting more with recipes. So this month’s edition of MJ’s Meals is more like a cautionary tale.

My husband was stopping at a local supermarket to purchase milk for his coffee, so I asked him to pick up a zucchini. He was . . . shocked. He knows nothing about picking out zucchini. Well, zucchini is a lot easier to purchase than say a tomato, which I have been picking out for him for years. You don’t need to squeeze or thump a zucchini. I gave him the basics. He did it!

I asked him if he’d gotten  himself a green pepper for his weekend omelet making. He said no, but he’d looked at mushrooms, but thought I would get mad if he brought them home. “Why?” I asked. “Because you don’t like them.”

I pointed out there are lots of things in our cupboards/refrigerator that I don’t like: green peppers, fresh tomatoes, mayonnaise, sauerkraut (which I had to remind him to purchase), even the milk I told him he needed.

The only thing I would get mad about would be if he brought home hard-boiled eggs or anything containing them. After 32 years, he should know this.

One time, long before I met my husband, I went to a family picnic at my sister’s home. There were hotdogs and hamburgers. Macaroni salad, potato salad, deviled eggs. That was it. I left. My sister knew better. Everyone in my family knew better.

I used to keep regular eggs in the house, but had to stop. Someone asked me, jokingly, “Why? Are you afraid someone will come into your house and randomly boil an egg?”

“Yes. It has happened.”

Early in our marriage, the wife of one of his friends, not an hour after I’d served a big breakfast, decided she needed a hard boiled egg, so cooked one for herself. In my kitchen. The stench of hard boiled eggs makes me ill. When I was a child, my mother would send me to the woods when she was making macaroni or potato salad or egg salad sandwiches. She always told me when I had my own kitchen I could make the rules. The wife of my husband’s friend violated my rule.

So unless I specifically need eggs, TV Stevie gets Egg Beaters.

MJ Monday-Meals: Potato Pie with Hamburg Gravy

Every year, my mom makes a birthday dinner for each one of us. This year, I requested something different. Something from my childhood. Comfort food. Except my mom couldn’t remember how to make it, even though it was a regular meal at our house while I was growing up: Potato Pie with Hamburg Gravy.

Please note: this is NOT Shepherd’s Pie. Whenever we tried to Google or Pinterest a recipe, we always came up with Shepherd’s Pie. NO. The dish is similar but not the same thing.

My sister had modified the recipe for her family, although she hadn’t made it in years, so Mom further modified her version for my birthday dinner.

There are three key components:

  • baking powder biscuits
  • mashed potatoes
  • gravy with onion and ground beef.

The way I remember the dish is with the biscuit crust, filled with mashed potatoes, then baked. When the pie was done, one ladled the gravy over it.

We ended up breaking open a biscuit on our plate, topping it with mashed potatoes, then with the gravy. It was so good. My daughter asked for the recipe a few weeks ago.

If anyone knows or remembers how to make the pie–is it only a bottom crust or both? How long do you bake it? –please reach out to me. This is an entree that shouldn’t get lost.

Thursday Thoughts: Food Obsession

I sometimes feel like I’ve obsessed about food my whole life. I have a tendency to enjoy eating. I love flavors. Textures. Food. Even as a child, I read cookbooks, looking for recipes to make. I’ve always enjoyed cooking.

Here’s the thing. I tend to be overweight. I’ve tried cutting calories, I’ve done Weight Watchers and became a lifetime member. And yet I’m still overweight.

I. Like. To. Eat. So I’ve changed my relationship with food.

I’m through apologizing for being hungry. If eating a bowl of ice cream makes me happy, then I’m going to be happy.

I know people who talk about good food and bad food. “Oh, I was bad and ate a crumb of fudge, so now I can’t eat anything except lettuce for a week.” Did the fudge make you happy? Does lettuce make you happy?

My categories are different. Do I like it? Then it’s a good food. Do I hate it? Then it’s a bad food.

 

The Man Fridge

Years ago, Parade magazine interviewed a female private detective, who maintained women make better detectives than men because if a man opens the refrigerator door to look for something, unless it’s right in front of him, he won’t find it because he won’t “move the mustard.”

That phrase has stayed with me.  The truth of it rings in my head at least once a week.

I once hid a bottle of champagne on the bottom shelf, in back of my refrigerator, for six months. No one noticed. Why? Because that would involve moving the mustard.

I have decided my path to riches will be the invention of The Man Fridge. The shelves will be only as deep as a gallon of milk. Initially I thought of using baseball’s “strike zone” as the height, but I’ve concluded that won’t work, because the bottom shelf would be too low. The ideal height would be waist to eye level on a six-foot man.  Even then, the lower shelves might be invisible.

The inevitable problem with The Man Fridge would be the width. It would need to be a minimum of three times wider than an average refrigerator in 2020.  Man Fridges could conceivably take up entire walls in kitchens.  And that creates the problem of doors. How many doors would be sensible? If a man won’t move the mustard, why would he open multiple doors? The doors, I’ve decided would have to be a deep as the shelves. That way, perhaps only twice the width of current refrigerators would work. Many refrigerators do have double doors.

Maybe this could work.