Last week* I mentioned that we’d been on a big breakfast-for-dinner spree this winter, less out of a noble desire for inexpensive, balanced, wholesome meals and more because scrambling eggs at the last minute allows us to go all the way to 15 minutes before dinner to come up with an idea for it, which is meal-planning equivalent of the heavens opening up and glorifying all of my late-afternoon lethargy at last.
I came down with a Man Cold* and laryngitis** this week and it’s totally cramping my game, or it would be, if I had any. It’s pretty clear what the cold expects of me I’d like to it leave: loads of sleep, little activity and probably some bad reality television. But as I keep interpreting this as: go to a bookstore event, go to another great talk, take laptop to Genius Bar, watch my wind-up bug go… — essentially my rule for this week has been, if it’s a tightly-packed enclosed space a few degrees too warm with zero air circulation, I’ll be right over! — I shouldn’t be surprised that on Day 6 of this mess, I’m still a pill to be around.
With all due respect, I think you’ve been putting cheese on the wrong side of your grilled cheese sandwiches. Or, at the least, neglecting the better ones, the exteriors. Wait, hear me out. It’s basic food math that while cold cheese is good, warm cheese is better. But if you take that a step further — and if you’re new here, let me tell you: we will always take it a step further — you will agree that melted cheese is better than warm cheese, and the melted cheese that rolls off a piece of sandwich bread and sizzles on a skillet, browning and crisping, is the top of the cheese tower… A place I’d very much like to live. Do you think a cheese tower might exist somewhere? Might it be France? Now I’m picturing an Eiffel Tower made out of cheese and what were we talking about? Oh right: melted and browned cheese wins, really for the same reason that browned butter trumps regular butter: the fats melt away from the dairy solids and toast them until they’re caramelized and achingly delicious and you forget why you’d ever eat it any other way. Don’t fight it.
If you’re one of those people who saw the word “pickled” in the title and said “Ugh, no, sorry, not for me,” do know, I was the same not too long ago and encourage you to fight the good fight for as long as you can, because once your tastes cross over to the vinegar side, there’s little going back.
Due to a delightful clerical error (a scheduled babysitter when we forgot Alex would be home from work), I got to have a weekday lunch with my husband on President’s Day. In a restaurant. With linens on the table and no sippy cups in a two-table radius! Oh, and maybe something petite, bubbly and pink in a glass. I admit nothing. But man, sometimes I think everyone should have kids just so they can get 80 times the joy out of excursions that would have been ordinary in another era. I am joking, of course. You should have kids because you detest sleeping past 6 a.m. Whoops, there I go again. It must be the pink bubbly.
Last September, surprising nobody more than my husband, decided I’d be a Good Football Wife this year and start using Sunday afternoons to make a hearty meal, one that stuck to our ribs and balanced out all those salads we enforce on ourselves during the week. I made beef chili with sour cream and cheddar biscuits and then I made… Right. It about stopped there. In my defense, my husband’s team of choice, The Giants, were hardly Good Football Material this year, so perhaps both of our enthusiasms waned simultaneously. Also, the baby decided he had to start running around dismantling the apartment most weekends, so somebody had to, you know, make sure he didn’t injure himself and blame us. Toddlers, man.
Sometimes, I don’t know me at all.
You see, one of the less-discussed factors in my cooking life on this site is the one I most like to keep a secret: I am incredibly picky. The list of foods I don’t want to eat is miles long. People like me have to learn to cook, it’s the only thing saving us from a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And well, barely that recently, while we’re being honest and stuff.