Thursday, January 08, 2009

Hell in a Meatloaf Basket

"A hint for not buying lunch: make enough dinner that you have leftovers for
lunch the next day. Also, big pots of things (like chili) or baked trays of
things (like lasagnas) are easy and provide ample leftovers for lunch the next

This is what I usually do when I want to brown-bag my lunch. It's a good system usually... until it all fell apart last night. It started when I realized that I hadn't been to a bookstore in over two weeks and was suffering major withdrawal pangs. Since I hadn't planned on giving up that particular addiction any time soon, I headed to Barnes & Noble right after work, knowing that I had plenty of time until Don would be home. There, I found this book. Now, I really liked Chocolat, but then I read Five Quarters of the Orange by the same author (Joanne Harris), and hated that one. This new-ish book, The Girl with No Shadow, was apparently a sequel to Chocolat. It's interesting when an author can vary so widely in his or her own writing, that one of the books is on my favorites list, and the other isn't even on the bookshelf... like Orson Scott Card. I love Ender's Game, but pretty much can't stand anything else he's written. Go figure. I kept trying, though, until something in Ender's Shadow made me throw the book across the room. But Card annoys me by pretty much hacking his own work to death. The Harris books just threw me because the first one I read is rather light and fluffy and fun, and second was dark and disturbing, totally different in tone; not at all what I was expecting.

So to make a long story short, I stayed at B&N way too long, completely engrossed in this novel (which turns out to be a lot darker than Chocolat but really, really good, for anyone interested; not depressing like Five Quarters) when I realized I must head for home--bought the book and the new Mothering magazine, and camped out on the sofa until Don got home. See, we were just going to have pancakes and bacon and maybe some eggs, which doesn't need to be started ahead of time... it's a no-time kind of meal. When Don got home (at close to 9, I think) I was almost done with the book-- it's a psychological thriller in a way, very suspenseful-- and I had to finish it before I could do ANYTHING else, which Don understands because we've been together for eight years so he knows that nothing comes between me and the last two chapters of a book. So he said he could start dinner and make me some tea in the bargain; I said I had planned on bacon and pancakes, did that sound OK? And if he could start the bacon frying I would be done with my book before it finished. And he said OK and wandered off to the kitchen, which is when everything went to hell.

I finished the book in no time, came to the kitchen to check on dinner and my tea, and what is in the frying pan? NOT BACON. The last two slices of meatloaf (our previous night's dinner), mashed and crumbled into bits, and a big bowl of mixed-up eggs on the counter. That meatloaf was supposed to be my lunch for today, alongside a big heaping of the broccoli-rice casserole that went with it. I had tender, loving plans for that last bit of meatloaf, and I WANTED BACON AND PANCAKES THAT NIGHT. (There may have been some pregnancy hormones involved.) In ten unsupervised minutes, Don basically destroyed two whole meals. Naturally he refused to see it that way, claiming that he was "just" trying to use up some leftovers. You would not believe the argument that resulted from this situation, in which I was completely, 100% in the right at all times and Don was a meatloaf-destroying, plan-changing, BAD COOK*. Who didn't even realize that if I HAD wanted eggs, WHICH I DIDN'T, I would have wanted them FRIED which is the ONLY way I've eaten eggs since getting pregnant. We basically resolved the issue (such as it is resolved, although I'm realizing now that I am NOT OVER THIS AT ALL, you just don't fuck around with a pregnant woman's food, OK?) by agreeing that if for some reason the dinner plan changes between the living room sofa and the stove, it will be by mutual agreement, and not UNILATERAL, ARBITRARY, Bush-White-House style decision-making. I mean, it hadn't been thirty seconds since he said, "yeah, I can start the bacon", when he made the indecipherable plan to destroy my meatloaf instead**.

So today I had to buy a bagel sandwich from Bodo's for lunch. And as the husband is banned from the stove, he's on permanent dinner-dishes duty instead.

*Who luckily does not have a blog of his own.

** We have a fundamental difference in theory about what constitutes a "leftover" and how they should be treated. My thinking is that many dishes, like soups, stews, chili, spaghetti sauce, casseroles, and similar lend themselves very nicely to second and even third appearances, often getting even better with time. Others, either because they don't reheat as well or just because they don't make as much at a time, go very well for lunch the next day or two. Sometimes, a single ingredient can be re-purposed, with a little planning; for example the regular brown rice left over one day becomes part of the broccoli-cheese-rice casserole the next, while the purposely doubled batch of cheese sauce from that casserole goes to the freezer for next week's macaroni and cheese; or the intended bacon of last night, of which I was going to fry up the whole package and use the second half in tonight's frittata. Don somehow doesn't see any of that as "leftovers"; to him, it isn't "leftovers" unless you take bits and pieces from several different meals and throw them together to make something new, unrecognizable, and frankly disgusting. During the argument last night, he claimed that we "never have leftovers!", which left me baffled. To me, anything that you spend ONE evening slaving over, but get to enjoy "for free" the next night too, is leftover! We eat leftovers by MY book more often than not: every time I make spaghetti sauce, or chicken soup, or a stew, and we eat it again... and usually again. But I guess to him it isn't leftover if it's not hashed up in a frying pan and mixed with a scrambled egg. I don't get it. I just know that he's banned from unsupervised helping until I feel better about this whole thing.


ayla said...

First of all, this post is HILARIOUS. You are totally right, in my opinion. My husband wouldn't dream of changing dinner plans without my approval. If I'm not making what we planned, he goes to the frozen/canned meal substitutes that we keep around for such occasions (since I work nights and sometimes just can't cook). We keep frozen burritos (which he loves) and canned soup for such occasions. We also have Ramen noodles if we're really tapped, but we frequently forget about those.

On another note, my baby is in the current Mothering magazine! On page 43, in the bottom right-hand corner, there's a picture of my husband and son in the bed. :) I got a year's digital subscription for my submission, though I already have (and prefer) the paper one. I was so glad they used my picture, I'm showing it off to anyone with eyes. LOL.

Bex said...

Ok, must stop reading at work. I just burst out laughing and when people don't know what you're laughing at you just look like a crazy.
It is almost the other way around in our house. I do nearly all the cooking but I pretty much don't touch the leftovers because no mater how long it's been in there, the second I decide to eat it is when Lex has already decided that he wants it. That and he needs to eat so much more anyway so I just assume leftovers are his next day breakfasts and lunches.