Monday, October 27, 2014

                                             Why Mr. Wonderful Loves My Cooking

     “When I was in college, I worked in the girls’ dorm. I could only afford one meal a day besides the free one I earned working there. So every morning, I started my day with Mapo,” said Mr. Wonderful. “Mapo?” I gasped. “Anyone under 80 will not know what Mapo is,” I laughed.

     I don’t cook. Well, I cook, but I don’t use recipes. Recipes require ingredients that I don’t choose to stock and many offer calories I don’t choose to ingest. Based on the above, this is part of why Mr. Wonderful is so tolerant of my feckless efforts to prepare a meal. He started out with Mapo, got divorced and had to cook for himself and ended up with me, Ms. Pas-de-recettes! The man will eat anything that doesn’t resemble a breakfast cereal that looks like gravel. 

     Those who can concoct a delectable dish with real taste spend a great deal of time at farmers markets and watching the food networks. I will never be a “foodie.” I am a “give-me-a-two-minute-second-grader-recipe” kind of gal. I don’t like quantities of any kind of food, even sweets. Give me a fresh 3-oz. portion of salmon (with maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of bearnaise), eight or nine fresh haricots verts, a thick piece of bread that I have to actually chew, a buttery glass of chardonnay, and I’m good to go. No lettuce necessary, and no dessert 99% of the time. Sometimes I do treat myself with a teaspoon or two of Edy’s Low Fat Caramel Delight. Now I know I should eat the lettuce and forget the Delight, but lettuce is not in my quality world. I eat it only because I have to, and then I have roll it up in little balls and follow with a wine chaser. 

     Back to Mr. Wonderful. Now this man who will eat anything that is healthy and that doesn’t require him to lift a hand, will eat leftovers even if they’ve been in the fridge since 1968. A depression baby, he values everything remotely valuable. I’m optimistic about his recovery, though, as he hasn’t yet begun saving string like my father did. My father left over 83 acres of string he had saved over the years. 

     For years, he has begged me to make tuna-noodle casserole. His mother used to make it for him, of course, probably when he was four. I told him that “casseroles” are not on my diet. I finally relented, however, and made him an authentic version of this artery-blocker. It was pretty good, but after the fourth bite, I had to leave the table. My stomach felt like I had eaten a bowling ball. The cream just stuck to my intestines and pulled my entire body within inches of the floor. Ugh.

     I’ve decided to save up so I can buy him a box of Mapo for Christmas. I’m going to put it on a tiny stool with a note from Santa saying, “Merry Christmas, sport. Hope this brings back fond memories of the girls’ dorm and motivates you to share with Madame Feckless, the Queen.”