I Bought Him Flowers

My husband, a small bunch of pink and yellow tulips in vase overlooking the lake. He flew in Saturday afternoon for a steak and baked potato dinner.

Easter Sunday we took it easy, I’d gotten a rack of lamb the day before and marinated it in olive oil, salt and pepper, sprigs of fresh thyme and leaves of rosemary all day. I forgot the garlic, the entire head was in a bowl elsewhere.

Simple roasted rack of lamb, boiled red potatoes with butter and seasonings, and a salad with his favorite vinaigrette, no, not mine from a half dozen acids including several vinegars and fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil, he wants bottled ranch dressing so he got that one.

It was a good weekend. Perhaps Texas Chili and my Ten-Minute Lasagne (on the site) next weekend. As a young girl or young adult you could always see me reading cookbooks and helping out if I was allowed to do so.

Thanks to all who helped me learn how to cook, from a very young age to caterers to college (I cooked for all my roommates) to work, work, work, then cooking schools. I thank everyone for contributing to my education.

Recently unable to sleep or really read because of an eye issue I’ve been up at night watching/listening to The Mind of a Chef, brainchild of Anthony Bourdain, and Michael Pollan’s concise and interesting distillation of his book Cooked.

It is fascinating to learn more about cultures, flavors, icky things I may never like to eat (not on the show but I never had haggis in Scotland) but Chef Pollan brought something to light. Many folks I know never cook a thing. I cook three meals a day plus feed and take my dog out, another thing people hire out.

Yes, my sink nearly fell below because the glue that held it together was not strong enough. Why? It’s a double sink and I use it many times a day and do hand-wash certain special dishes, large pots and pans and wash my hands. In the years we’ve been here no-one has seen this happen, because no-one cooks.

Dear Michael Pollan,

I like the way you pull people in instead of push them to feed their family healthy, home-cooked foods. For nearly thirty years I’ve shopped the outer aisles of the grocery store. I barely know my produce folks because they change out all the time but I bring my Texas Chili (Pedernales riff, of course no beans) to my butchers. Yes, I’ve a meat grinder on my 28 year Kitchenaid and at my age move it across the kitchen to put on the grinder.

I graduated PKU, Peter Kump’s which is now ICE.

I pick out all my 4# of hand-chosen meat (sale days are great) and take it down and do a Texas grind. The rest of it is up to the onions, garlic and spices. You may want to look up Lady Bird Johnson’s Pedernales River Chili that was served in 1962 for 5,000 guests at the Ranch west of Austin. The guest list included JFK. If you look up the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Museum it’s on the site, or just Google it.

It’s very generic as a recipe because they don’t have what we do today and I’ll never use “chili powder,” so make my own from Penzey’s. This recipe was the most requested White House document in 1962 before JFK was killed.

Sharing this information is important to our future. Cooking made us human. Shopping at a grocery store for microwave or ready-made foods is ok a day or two a week but it probably means you’re at the TV and spouse is online and the kiddos never got to have dinner with their family.

Caring for one’s family is most important. Don’t tell your kids how many hours you had to work this week.  Tell them you’re having what I’ve done for kids, MYOP night. I make pizza dough in advance but if they’re not my kids (we don’t have kids) I always have them make a ball of dough before they get tired to take home and rise in the frig for tomorrow.

Kids roll out their own dough and top their own pizzas with anything from caramelized onions and anchovies, tomato and plain mozz, pepperoni and it runs the gamut from sauteed spinach, roasted garlic………



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