Monday, August 30, 2010

More on feeding a southern boy

This week, I was shopping the Safeway discount meat bin (If you don't know what this is, you should. Look for it. At Safeway -- Vons in some parts of the country, I guess -- they have these bins in the meat department where they toss soon to be expired meat. It's usually 30-50% off. Oh yes. I eat expired bologna.), and I saw a small container with two veal cube steaks. I've had bad luck cooking veal, but I decided to try it again.

When Roomie came home, he saw what I was cooking and told me he'd never eaten veal.

"That's 'cause you're a good person," I said.

He agreed.

I had on hand some breadsticks I'd made (they were supposed to be baguettes). They were no good for regular eating, but they were perfectly cracker-ey for homemade bread crumbs. I had fresh mozzarella, a hunk of parm, eggs, pasta, and best yet I had everything I would need to make this Smitten Kitchen tomato sauce that I absolutely adore. (A note for my super foodie readers: The veal parm recipe also calls for fresh parsley and fresh basil, and while I had the parsley, I had no basil. I did have fresh tarragon on hand, and the tarragon substituted for the basil in a wholly surprising and totally transcendent way)

As we sat down for dinner, I realized R didn't have a knife to cut the meat. Fortunately, his fork was more than sufficient to cut the veal into bite-sized pieces. After the first bite, he looked at me, wide-eyed. Seriously, if cows had blue eyes .... I almost started to think I should feel guilty for cooking some poor, tortured creature and making this sweet, animal-loving, doe-eyed hippie enjoy his (or her -- do they make veal out of young heifers?) dead body. I offered all I could come up with as a remittance, an apology for making R realize how tasty animals can be when they're disallowed from ever feeling fresh air, from ever running, from ever getting the opportunity to be what they were born to be.

"I'm sorry I made that baby cow taste so delicious."

I think that's good enough.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two vignettes

Last night, I glanced at my phone and noticed a missed call from my Bestie. We've been trying to chat for a few days, but keep missing each other.

(It should be noted here that both Bestie and her mother, Itinerant Woman, are notorious Anglophiles -- especially on such an occasion that the Anglo is a goodlooking man. Bestie also so happens to have a mini wiener dog named Ralph.)

I had a dinner guest over, so I couldn't call back. I sent her a text (which was all true, by the way):

"Hi boo. I'd call you back but R and I have an Englishman over for dinner. His name is Ralph. I'm sure you understand."

Her reply:

"Of course. Carry on."

A friend of mine recently called me "demanding."

"You know I mean that with love, right?," she asked.

"I also demand love, so yes," I replied.

But later, I told R about it.

"Did I tell you Jules called me demanding? Do you think I'm demanding?"

He looked at me with some surprise.

"Of course. You didn't know that about yourself?"

Monday, August 16, 2010

It was a lot like a first date. I even shaved my legs.

One of the funny things about my moving plan is this: I agreed to move to R's ancestral home without having met, or even spoken to, any of his family.

Not-a-one. Not even on the phone.

And I'll be inheriting a brood. There's dad, there's mom, there's stepmom, there are uncles and aunts, a few cousins and there's a 93-year-old matriarch. All within probably a 50-mile radius.

I'm excited about it, for the most part. So far, they've been terribly sweet. This is good for me, because in the past (long past) I had a boyfriend whose mom thought I was stealing away her baby. It was a nightmare. That's not the case here. They all seem to be (judging by R's reports) genuinely delighted he's found a lady he likes enough to bring home, a lady who likes him enough she's agreed to cross the continent. Whenever he talks to his family back home, they always end the call with messages for me. "Tell Ells we said hi and can't wait to meet her!"

But I'm also kind of nervous. What if they don't like me? What if they don't think I'm pretty enough for him? What if they judge me? What if they hate my dog? I realize these are mostly asinine, insecure thoughts (with the exception of the dog concern. It's totally reasonable to think that she might cause problems), but I can't help it. Fears are fears, you can try to reason with them, but sometimes it's hard to make them go away.

So when R announced that one of his uncles was coming through town with his wife (not the uncle who works with my new internet friend, a different uncle, I was both excited and nervous. I started getting ready hours before our date at a local brewpub. I tried on multiple outfits, checking with my girlfriend, Q.

"Is this cute?" I asked, spinning in front of her in a blue cotton summer dress.

"Yeah, it's cute," Q said.

"Is it too much? I think it's too much."

"It's not too much, it's cute."

It was like a first date.

As we walked into the pub, Uncle was sitting at the table. I spotted R's sparkly blue eyes across the room. As we walked up, he was sort of stuck in the corner, so I reached over and shook his hand. As we chose seats, Auntie returned from the bathroom. She gave R a big hug and then turned to me.

"Hi, good to meet you," I said, putting out my hand.

She looked at my hand.

"Honey, if you're moving to South Carolina, you're going to have to get over shaking hands," she said as she folded me into a big hug.

Seems like a good sign to me.