I love my husband. I have many books with recipes in them, good books, some of the best, he has a book called Numerical Recipes. We’re both technicians of a sort, a very different sort who happen to get along together.

Last night I made a classic Beef Carbonnade (beef, onions, bacon and beer) stew that I let simmer for a few hours. I decided to make spaetzle, something my father would like. I used a recipe from Tyler Florence and just added a bit more milk. Probably atmospheric conditions and that I used Italian 00 flour.

I try to multi-task both in kitchen work and appliances. There are few items out on the counter, and minimal storage space so I choose gadgets wisely. The first tools I used in cooking school were a chef’s and a paring knife. I still use them but have changed to an 8″ Santoku and 8″ ceramic blade. Yes, I’ve at least 12 knives up on the magnetic strip, easy to access even for a left-hander.

When my husband is out at a specialty hardware store and sees something he thinks I need, he buys it. He knows 5% of what I know about cooking but likes the science and mechanics of it. PLEASE don’t let him find Harold McGee on the bottom shelf as he’ll read it and drive me bonkers! He remembers everything, even what is the difference between baking soda and baking powder. He doesn’t understand, as a physicist, why bakers need both. Double indemnity? I don’t bake. I cook.

So, back to the spaetzle. Simple recipe, and he chose the best tool with which to drop the drops into boiling water. NO, don’t go buy a spaetzle maker, dearest. We can use your old college colander. You got me a potato ricer. At the specialty hardware store over the years you also bought me a food mill.

Food mill, he said. I poured the mixture I made into the food mill with the largest disc while he stirred, poised over the boiling pot of salted water and watched the nubbins come to the top. We took them out with a Chinese mesh “spider.” Then they went into butter with a bit of salt and pepper and were perfect with our tender, tasty Carbonnade.

Teamwork. After we were done I said congratulations, dear, you just made pasta. I did? He’s very proud. There’s a lot more Carbonnade so he may decide to make his own spaetzle tonight.

My fear is that he does not do mis en place, asks for every step, uses every pot and pan in the kitchen and thinks dinner ends with dinner. No clean-up. That’s why he’s only allowed in to get ice, water or Dr. Pepper. Cheerily, Dee



One response to “Choices

  1. My grandmother, and her mother, would be proud that we made spaetzle. I’ll need some time to make my own sauerbraten because I don’t want it sitting in my living room for four days!

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