Post #669 The Big Adult Question

September 8, 2019 at 11:56 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I just recently had the “pleasure” of batching it one night.  Partner/Spouse was out of town on a business trip overnight.  I worked my normal shift, off at 5:30.  Throughout the day, that adult question languished in the back of my mind.  Everyone knows that question.

“What the heck do I make for dinner tonight?”

The possibilities were endless.  I had leftovers I could repurpose into something.  I could thaw something quickly, or I could cook something from its frozen state into a delectable dinner.  I could stop at the store on the way home and grab something.  I could even be a bad boy and stop for a pile of bad-for-me burgers and fries.

So, by the end of the day, I was tired and the thought of stopping at the grocery store was daunting.  So, X that option out.  What did I feel like eating?  I seriously considered PBJs and chips.  Add Kool-aid to that and I’d be 9 years old again.  I do that all the time.  But not tonight.  Didn’t feel like it.  Besides, there were other things I wanted to get done that evening.  I had a load of towels to go into the dryer, and I wanted to wash a load of t-shirts and get them dried before bed time.  And I wanted to get the kitchen straightened up so the health board wouldn’t fine us, and the neighbors wouldn’t look at us in disdain.  And I wanted at least a half hour of front porch sitting time with a glass of wine.

It’s the same old problem that faces everyone who cooks, and it faces us every single day.  Most of the time we have to take other people into account and try to guess what they might want.  It gets old.  I’m lucky because Partner/Spouse is an active participant in the decision process, and he likes to cook too, so many times when he suggests something, he cooks it.  And when either of us are tired, the other steps in and cooks.

Or we order delivery.  But even that gets old sometimes.

So, I’m driving home and I decided to take “the long way” home which really only adds about five minutes to a six minute drive.  But it goes passed all the shops and restaurants and some beautiful old houses.  It skirts a stream/river and some old wild undergrowth.  It’s a nice pleasant drive.  The weather was spectacular, the car was humming, the windows were all rolled down.  Even my hair was blowing in the wind.  The tired feeling from work was relaxing away from me.  The crisp fresh air blowing around me felt as clean as a shower.

When I got home, there were six ripe cherry tomatoes waiting for me!  I walked in and greeted Buddy.  What a character.

I put the towels in the dryer, then set up the washing machine for the load I was bringing down.  I set the oven to 350 because I suddenly realized what I was cooking for my dinner.

You know, I’ve noticed recently that a vast amount of money is spent by manufacturers trying to help us answer that adult question, and coincidentally, sell us their product.  “I feel like chicken tonight!” “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner!”  “Pork, the other white meat!”  “Mmm mmm good, that’s Cambell’s soup!”  “Starkist tuna is chicken of the sea!”  Even Spam is trying to convince us that it’s great for tacos these days.  One hint:  It’s not.

And those are just from a cursory, mild check of the memory banks, no real effort put into it.

I went upstairs with the dog following me slowly, begging for attention.  I changed clothes, made sure fans were on and windows open to bring the cool air into the house, and played with Buddy for a few moments before going downstairs with the shirts I wanted to wash.

I threw them in while the dog waited patiently to go out.  He hadn’t peed for several hours and was crossing his legs in desperation. I washed my hands, grinned at the dog who was looking at me with dire need and got his harness and leash on.

He raced to bottom of the porch steps into the grass and didn’t even lift his leg.  He squatted like a little girl dog and peed for about six minutes straight with the look of unbelievable relief plastered on his face.  Dogs can be so expressive.  Then we walked for several minutes around the wildflowers while he took care of other business and I enjoyed the sun beating on me, and the breeze blowing passed me, and neighborhood noises.  I could even hear the creek a block and a half away.

Back at the house, I put the dog’s dinner together and turned to what I needed to do.  Big mistake because he refused to eat because he thought I was getting something more interesting than the dog food in his bowl.  So I went to the living room and turned on the music channel and the computer, in that order.  By that time, he’d finished scarfing his food, cleaned his bowl and the floor around it (he’s a messy eater), and investigated the rest of the kitchen for anything dropped, then joined me with a large resounding burp.  He’s the soul of a trucker.

So now the question is answered.  What to make for dinner?   I took out a piece of chicken from the freezer and set it aside.  When we shop, we look for deals on large packages of meats and split them up into separate two-person sized portions.  It keeps costs down for us.  We found some large chicken breasts recently and when I split them up, there was one sitting by itself.  I wrapped it up thinking I’d use it to make soup, or add to rice, or something.  The something was a single meal for me.

I coated the chicken with a tablespoon of olive oil and my hands.  That sucker was cold!  Then I sprinkled coarse salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder over it, and put it on a foil covered baking tray.  I figured and hour at 350 would get it done.  While that was cooking, I took time to clean the kitchen up, and put the dry towels away.  Then I took my Chromebook along with a glass of wine to the front porch.  The door was open so I could hear the music and anything else that was going on in the house.

While the chicken was cooking, I had to think about what other side dishes to go with the main protein.  And there were a ton of things I could have.  I tend to be old fashioned and think in terms of protein-starch-vegetable.  Well, vegetable was taken care of with the tomatoes I pulled from the plant when I got home.  A little salt on them and they’d be fine.  Just like candy!  So what starch would I be having?  I could have some pasta with butter and cheese.  Or I could have rice (and we all know how I feel about rice!)  Or I could have potatoes.  And I thought, ooooh, potatoes!  We have those mashed potato mixes that are as simple as boiling water.  We have frozen tater tots, but I didn’t really want to stand at the stove for the time it would take to fix them.  Then I remembered we have frozen potato hash brown patties.  That’s the one!

After an hour, the wine was done, the breeze had turned a little cooler than I liked, and it was time to dry the dishes and put them away.  I checked the internal temp on the chicken and it was spot on.  The skin was crispy and blackend with the seasonings, so it came out to cool off.  I set a small skillet to heating some oil, just enough for two potato patties.  While that was heating, I cut each tomato in half and sprinkled with a bare pinch of salt.  Then, to add a little more veggie, and make things interesting, I fished out some home made pickle chips and set with the tomatoes.  When the oil was ready, the potatoes were cooked.

Let me tell you, that all was so good!  I got dinner ready, and all the tasks I wanted to get done were completed.  Just as I sat down to eat, my phone went off.  Partner/Spouse was calling to tell me about his fun day.  I put him off so I could eat, but called him back within a half hour.  He’d had a great day, too.

All in all, it was a good bachelor evening, and I remembered when I had been a true bachelor after the divorce and it was just me and Sporty, my dog at the time.  I ate a lot of tacos, pork chops, and PBJs.  Oh, and grilled cheese, too.  This night was much better because there was something to look forward to.

So, how do solve the riddle of “What to make for dinner?”  Is it planned, or is it whatever is on hand, or is it making a phone call for delivery?  Let us all know!  Feel free to share the post far and wide if you want to.

As always,

 

 

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