Food for Plot

Some days I feel like I’m living in my own episode of The Next Food Network Star. Only I didn’t sign up. That doesn’t stop my food connoisseur husband from serving as judge, analyst, and commentator for my efforts in the kitchen. Our friends are often amused by our meal-time antics and banter. Twenty-something, Ry, even does a respectable impression of my husband’s drawling critique of one of my chocolate sheet cakes. I’m glad we could supply Ry with some material for his comic routine, and I’m glad he wasn’t around for the first years of my life. He would have starved.

Culinary adventures were not a highlight of my growing up years, but I do have a few distinct memories. There was the time when I requested that my mom make navy beans and cornbread for my ninth birthday party. Smothered with ketchup and dotted with chunks of ham, this school-cafeteria-influenced fare was my favorite meal. I’m sure my guests were impressed.

My guests should have been around a few years later when I was requesting Mom’s Sloppy Joes (a recipe people actually do ask me for today). By that time, however, we were relocated 500 miles away and under the influence of my gourmet stepfather. He would be the first man whose cooking skills would not rub off on me, but I did appreciate his creativity with his leftover plate-sized buttermilk pancakes. We made them into “Wilderness Sandwiches” by spreading them with brown sugar and rolling them around crispy pieces of hickory smoked bacon. These savory/sweet bundles served as meals for autumn expeditions through sumac-lined creek and river valleys. We ate them on winter cross country skiing treks over snow-crusted farmland. They were staples in lunch boxes on spring field trips to outlaw graves, and we stuffed them into tackle boxes for summer evening trips to shady, muggy fishing holes.

In a non-digestible nutshell, Wilderness Sandwiches sustained me for experiences that proved to be intoxicating nourishment for a young woman – experiences that would cause her to hunger after ever more adventures…except for ones on the Food Network. That’s not happening…no matter how helpful her husband’s critiques.


2 thoughts on “Food for Plot

  1. This made me laugh. I can hear Jay saying, "Sabrina, I don't wanna say it's bad…But [LONG pause]…it's baaaad." A few weeks ago I made this squash I got from the farmer's market and I make it like I always do – gave it a good carmalization in a screaming hot pan then sauteed with shallots, garlic and olive oil – one of Stacy's favorites. But as he began to eat it, my husband – who would eat a brick and like it – pauses and says, "hmmm." "What's wrong?" I ask. "Well…it tastes like feet." ?????? Needless to say it was not one of my finest wifely moments in responding to that one.

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