Archive for the ‘the South’ Category

Wes, Me… and Paula

Monday night is date night for Wes and I.  For most people, date night usually involves leaving the house and, you know, going on a date.   (Most people also do silly, ridiculous things like celebrating Valentines Day and anniversaries.)  But Wes and I are not like most people.  (And all our friends say “Amen!”)  And while relationships are usually based on love and affection and respect and shared values, I think the real basis of our relationship is food.  Wes and I like food.  A lot.  We spend a lot of time eating food.  We spend a lot of time cooking food.  We spend a lot of time talking about cooking and eating food.  And then we go watch Harry Potter, which, incidentally, has a good deal of food in it and must be accompanied by appropriate amounts of candy.

I’ve decided that food is my love language.  I’m trying to pass it off as my spiritual gift, but I suspect God has other intentions for me.  So when one of us (and by one of us, I mean Wes) is fasting, my world gets pretty dark.  We drink cups and cups of tea and stare at each other, and I wrack my brain.  Isn’t there anything else we like doing?  Don’t we have any other friends?  Interests?  Hobbies that don’t include beer and garlic and butter?  And then we usually end up talking about God, and it all works out.  But I’m always relieved when the fast ends and my life can go back to normal and I can once again pretend that I’m a balanced, well-rounded person with a variety of passions and activities.

No one was fasting last Monday, though, and like I said, Wes and I don’t go out on date night.  There are a variety of reasons for this.  Apart from the fact that we’re still college student-poor, we’re also unashamed food snobs.  We cook for ourselves because we’re convinced that what we make at home will be better (often true) and cheaper (meh… sometimes) than what we can buy at a restaurant.  And yes, we’re Southern, but we’re not Paula Deen-Southern.  We still consider ourselves to be health-conscious.  If we cook at home, we can be careful about what goes into our food and avoid unnecessary preservatives and oils and fats.  But apparently, our concept of “healthy cooking” has some holes in it.

Last Monday, Wes and I went on a romantic outing to Publix to buy groceries.  Because we’re “spontaneous” (ie, bad at planning), our usual approach is to just look around until we get inspired.  If you know Wes and I, you know that this approach is… exactly as effective as it sounds.  But eventually, we decided what we wanted to cook.  Wes was inspired by the fresh brussel sprouts in the produce section.  (Fresh vegetables!  We’re so healthy!)  I was inspired by, um, heavy cream.  (Uh… dairy has lots of calcium?)  So we made chicken pesto alfredo and sautéed brussel sprouts.

Admittedly, not the most calorie-conscious meal, but I wasn’t exactly in the mood for healthy and I figured that at least this way I could take full responsibility for the degree to which my arteries were clogged.  Besides, the brussel sprouts were going to be healthy, and I wasn’t planning on eating a softball-sized wad of pasta.  I made the cream sauce with butter, half-and-half, pre-made pesto and some spices, and tossed it with linguine, sliced grilled chicken, and fresh parmesan.  Wes caramelized the brussel sprouts with butter and garlic.  We tasted the cream sauce, tasted the brussel sprouts, talked about how much better they were fresh, and started serving the plates.  Then I decided to clean up a little before we ate.

I had used half a stick of butter in the alfredo sauce and left the other half on the cutting board so Wes could use some of it in the brussel sprouts.  But as I cleaned up, I noticed it was still sitting there – and the other stick of butter was gone.  So I asked Wes about it.

“How much butter did you put in the brussel sprouts?”

“I don’t know.  Like a few tablespoons?  I used the butter on the cutting board.”

I pointed to the counter.  “But it’s still sitting there.”

“Oh,” Wes said.  “Then I guess I used half of the other stick too.”

So yes, our oh-so-healthy vegetables were seasoned with an entire stick of butter.  I think that’s my cue to get out of the South, now.  Apparently Paula Deen’s influence is far greater than we thought.  You think you’re safe, then all of a sudden, you find yourself deep-frying a block of cream cheese and wondering which recipe of cornbread casserole you should serve with your turducken.

Tonight is date night again.  Wes and I are going out for once, and I’m going to do my best to order a meal with lots of leafy green somethings.  Maybe there’s still hope for us.  But if you ever hear me talk about combining a sausage patty with bacon, eggs, and cheese and serving it between two doughnuts, someone please come kidnap me and force-feed me tofu until I come to my senses.  I will not let Paula win…


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