I came home from the library last Wednesday worn out from climbing a rickety ladder all day to check on the roof leak and preparing for a library board meeting.
When I finally got home around 10 or 11 p.m., I was greeted with the pleasant aroma of what I surmised was cornbread and something wafting exotic. David was already in bed, but it smelled like he’d left dinner on the stove for me.
Cornbread, indeed, and steamed broccoli, sweet potatoes, and lentils and rice. Nothing exotic, but oh, so welcome. I chopped up the sweet potato in a bowl and layered on the broccoli and the lentils and rice, heated it all in the microwave, added a heavy spritz of lemon juice, a hefty shake of flaked Parmesan cheese, and a healthy sprinkle of adobo seasoning. It was just delicious and exactly what my body and mind needed.
When I went to bed later, David had awakened and I thanked him profusely for dinner. He was groggy and didn’t say much.
The next day was busy again, and it wasn’t until I was kissing him goodnight later that night that I remembered the meal again.
He was going on and on wondering what he was going to take for lunch the next day, Friday, when he works alone all day, naming less than appetizing possibilities. His talk of food reminded me that I hadn’t thanked him in an awake state for the previous night’s dinner.
“Oh, thank you again for making dinner last night!” I said.
He laughed and blurted out, “I didn’t make you dinner, you ate my leftovers!”
“You mean you just left out the food for me to put away?!”
We laughed and laughed...it was almost a reverse “Gift of the Magi” story.
I made up for it on Sunday, though, with the best roasted vegetables I’ve ever cooked and a tasty dish of collard greens with onions and mushrooms. He made the salmon and we had lots of leftovers...not as necessary as it is on a Friday, but still a good thing on a crazy newspaper-production Monday.
There’s nothing amusing to say about roasted vegetables, but the addition of peeled and cut up sweet potatoes will be a staple in all future preparations. I highly recommend it. Also essential: lots of olive oil. I pour it in the pan, add cut up vegetables—potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions—and swirl them around in the oil with my hands until they’re coated. Generous shakes of granulated garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and adobo seasoning over the vegetables completes the preparation.
David knows his way around the kitchen very well, but his idea of flavor begins and ends with turmeric, mainly because he read of its cancer-prevention properties. Years ago when I was a La Leche Leader, we acquired the “Whole Foods for the Whole Family” cookbook. Essentially the philosophy is, it’s better to eat foods in their least adulterated state: eat an apple instead of apple pie, for example. I don’t think David ever read the cookbook or does it purposefully, but he is a whole food kind of guy. And I don’t mean Whole Foods, the grocery store, also known as “Whole Paycheck.” He’ll make an egg, but not quiche. And then he’ll sprinkle it with turmeric. Still, when I’m gone for days at a time, I don’t worry about him finding enough food to eat.
And, with grandkids to visit, it seems like I often am gone for days at a time—even if it is just two or three days. I drove to Kentucky the weekend before last to visit Caroline and Ellie. And, even though I came bearing gifts, when I got home late Sunday night, I still had to make five trips from the car to unload everything—David was already in bed.
Even I was astonished by how much stuff I had hauled for just a weekend: two tote bags of shoes (sneakers, Crocs, nice shoes, sensible shoes, two pairs of boots), a laundry basket filled with cold weather gear for playing in the snow with Caroline), a sleeping bag, two tote bags filled with library work, a backpack with miscellaneous stuff, a toiletries bag and another bag for hairbrushes and hair dryer, a tote bag of stuff to distract Caroline, a suitcase of too many clothes, a food bag, a pillow, and a variety of front-seat stuff including a mini-cooler for my boiled egg and cheese snacks along the way.
David would have packed a toothbrush and hopped in the car.
Living with him—it’s the spice of life.