Post #506 Feedin’ The Crew

September 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #506 Feedin’ The Crew

I don’t really consider myself a 5 star cook, or even a two star cook.  I think I’m pretty much a run-of-the-mill standard type cook who can follow a recipe, and modify it to my own tastes and the tastes of my family.  My “family” changed over the years, as most people’s does.  When I first moved to the D.C. area, I shared an apartment with two guys in the Navy who immediately elected me “chief cook and bottle washer.”  I told them no deal.  If I was cooking, they were cleaning.  For one reason or another, we decided to pool our resources into one account and pay the rent (no utilities) and buy groceries. We didn’t know each other very well, so I was left to figure out what we liked in common.

“Okay, guys, before we go grocery shopping, I need to know what you like to eat.  Are you allergic to anything?  Is there something you really dislike?”

Turns out, they liked everything.  They didn’t want anything fried since they were both trying to lose weight.  They wanted healthy style cooking with loads of vegetables.  Salads were good.  The occasional treat would be welcome, but dessert wasn’t a standing order.

We decided breakfast and lunch would be up the individual and I would make dinner each night we were all home, about five times a week.  They would alternate the cleaning between them.  That didn’t work and a couple of times I had to go on strike to get clean dishes to cook with.

The first night, I fixed tacos.  We sat down to the table with a bowl of Spanish rice, refried beans, and all the fixin’s for tacos.  The looked blankly at the table.

“How do we do this?”

Turns out, they’d only ever had premade tacos, never made on their own.  I showed them how to fill and build a taco shell, and we all tucked in with gusto.  They ate some of the beans, and a little bit of rice, but I didn’t pay much attention to that.  Not everyone likes rice or refried beans.  And I could take them to work for my lunch for a couple of days.

It was a good meal, a good time, and I learned a little about the guys.

The next night, since I had a little more time, I baked herbed chicken (boneless, skinless chicken breast because they were both watching their weight), baked a couple of potatoes, and made a giant bowl of salad.  I placed everything on the table, we all sat down, and I filled my bowl full of salad.  I ate two bowls of salad and one piece of chicken, while they ate their potatoes and a bunch of chicken, but no salad.

I was puzzled but decided they just weren’t in the mood for salad that night.

The next night, I don’t remember what I fixed, but I put the salad out again since it was still good and there was plenty of it.  We ate, and I ate salad, and they didn’t touch it.  I didn’t say anything, but wondered again about it.

The next night, I freshened the salad but didn’t put out a big bowl of it and when I was the only person eating salad, I decided not to make salad anymore.  I tossed the rest of the salad down the disposal because it wouldn’t last another day of recycling and went on from there.

After that, there were still plenty of veggies, but no salads.

It was actually a really good experience for my cooking skills.  They never protested if I made spaghetti three nights in a row as I was trying to get the taste just right.  They liked when I went into a cake phase and made a different cake each Friday night.  I was able to experiment and test and play around.  I’d never eat as much as I was cooking at the time so it was good that food was seldom wasted.

Inevitably, there came a time, sooner rather than later, when they wanted to talk about the menus.

“We’re not losing any weight.  Are you cooking healthy?”

Yes, I replied.

“No more frying.”

I don’t fry anything.

“Stop making gravy.  It’s fattening.”

I don’t make gravy.  All I do is clarify and reduce pan juices.  It’s called de-glazing.

“No more cookies or cakes.”

I can do that.  But if I decide to make cookies in the future, just realize I made them with ingredients I bought and don’t touch them.

“We don’t understand why we’re not losing weight.”

Try eating less and exercising more.

“The food tastes so good, it’s hard not to eat all of it.”

I manage to survive on smaller portions.

“Why don’t you make more salads?”

Wait a minute, I made salad the first week we lived here, and neither of you touched it.

“That’s because you put things in it we don’t like.”

Such as?

“Well, green onions, and croutons, and carrots, and tomatoes.”

You guys don’t like TOMATOES?!!!  I’ve never heard of that.

“We’ve never liked tomatoes.”

So basically you’re happy with a bowl of shredded lettuce?

They nodded happily.  I started putting out bowls of shredded lettuce.  They ate it.

We had repetitions of that conversation for the next three years, with them trying to blame me for their lack of weight loss.  By the time we left the apartment three years later I was getting married and ready to start a new chapter in my life.  They were starting new chapters in their lives as the Navy had severed their employment due to their lack of weight loss.

I have since then met other people who don’t like tomatoes, but I think they’re probably aliens or something.



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