I struck out at dinner again last night. Lately every main-dish recipe I try seems to be a tragic failure. This is probably because I keep trying new super-healthy and vegetarian items, because that’s what I’d like us all to be eating.
So, I attempted a Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew. Part of what made me try it–besides the fact that it contained curry & ginger–was that the Naptime Chef lady said that she was preparing it for her husband while she was away, as if this was a particular item that her husband would appreciate. Which resonated with me because, generally, when I prepare a vegetarian meal, W is making himself a sandwich within 2 or 3 hours. So I thought: ah, a husband pleaser!
Well, I was wrong. First, I should have remembered that if I truly wanted to create a meal especially for W, it would involve a large slab of pork and some Maytag blue cheese. The man approaches meat with the casual gusto of someone who’s clearly spent exactly zero minutes listening to Alicia Silverstone gush about the whiteness of her eyes. Second, if I had read more attentively, I would have realized that the blogger was also preparing chocolate chip cookies. Ohhhhh.
I frequently attempt to mitigate the possible confusion and distress caused by an unfamiliar meal by making some yummy side. One of our favorites is to make Johnny Cakes with the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix muffin recipe and half of a can of creamed corn thrown in. This is one of my kids’ all-time favorites. But of course it’s got all kinds of crap thrown in there. I really do like the idea of just baking bread from scratch instead of buying it, especially now that my fave Pepperidge Farm Nutty Oat bread is no longer available. Also because, you know, everything’s better if you make it yourself from scratch–better for you, better tasting, blah, blah, blah. I actually managed to kick the bottled salad dressing habit with my go-to Dijon-Lemon Vinaigrette. But thus far, the bread situation has eluded me. Here’s my problem with bread: I am not a planner. Day after day, I come up with the notion at 3:30 pm that I’d like to bake some bread, but by then, it’s too late.
This happened again yesterday, so I ended up making some biscuits. These were greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm, but of course these (totally white-flour) biscuits are best served with a slab of butter and honey. Thus, you know, completely moving the entire meal from the “win” into the “lose” column for me with my super-healthy-eating goals.
I thought the stew was good. But, see: this is what happens. The rest of the family rejects it, and I like it enough so that I can’t throw it away in good conscience, but meanwhile I’m left with, like 10 bowls of something that I’d really only like to eat for three or four bowls. Dang. So I was sitting there at dinner, musing over which friend or mommy might appreciate some of this stew. And it occurred to me that if it was vegan, the sunshine committee of my moms’ group might want some for their freezer, because they might have a tough time coming up with meals for the vegan postpartum mommies. At which point W asked what I was thinking about (just like you want the boy to ask what you’re thinking about, which is why I married him, but in this case I wasn’t thinking about my feelings, alas).
I answered, “I’m trying to remember if this is just vegetarian, or if it’s vegan.”
“It tastes vegan,” he said. And it wasn’t a compliment.