Happy Thanksgiving! We’re off celebrating the holiday with friends, but here’s a story about food for the day:
I mentioned in my last post on Pumpkin Risotto with Wild Mushrooms that I had a photo of the dish for a specific reason.
Now that Michelle works part time in town, I’ve become a house husband of sorts. It also puts me on the receiving end of a Great American Tradition that is largely observed exclusively by the male segment of our population: arriving home late for dinner.
When I worked outside the home, I was always scrupulously careful about when I arrived home from work, and what I said once I got there. This came about because of the many times during my childhood that my father came home late for dinner. Years of watching and actively participating in my mother’s various schemes to force my father to be on time for dinner, and/or get dinner on the table at its optimal point of doneness led me to vow never to cause similar problems in my adult life. I can’t say I was always successful, but I tried.
The funny thing about that long struggle in my childhood home was Dad’s work situation. As a minister. his office was in the church across the lawn from the manse where we lived! Getting home on time meant standing up from his desk, walking a few yards, and sitting down at the dinner table. This proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for the poor man. Many times, he was not to blame; pastoral counseling cannot be cut short. Often, though, it had more to do with distraction. It never helped that when he did arrive, he’d often say something like, “I”m starved—where’s dinner?”
Michelle faces a bit more of a challenge in her commute. She has to break free of the counseling office where she works—which creates the same obstacles Dad faced—drive 7 miles over rural roads to Mud Bay, then hike the mile-and-a-quarter home, which means gauging the tides correctly, packing up and hauling supplies, and occasionally dodging wildlife. All of these are made more difficult as winter progresses. Early darkness, high winds, and ice and snow all seem to conspire to slow her down. On top of this, she loses cell coverage at the top of the last hill before the bay. Past that point, she cannot call to tell me when I might expect her.
Meanwhile, her little house husband is trying to time the evening meal in such a way that it’s ready about the time she arrives home, whenever that might be.
My metabolism complicates this. I’m a “bear” if I don’t eat by about 5:30 or so. To keep Michelle from coming home to a grumpy chef, we understand that if she is too late, I will eat without her, then feed her when she arrives.
Hence the photograph.
I’d tried a new recipe, and found the results very pleasing. Unfortunately, the dish was ready long before Michelle would be home. I knew I had to eat, but here was my new creation in pristine condition, awaiting my wife’s admiration.
Eventually, following the time-honored, if rude, taunt, I took a picture of it so it would last longer. Then I sat down to an excellent meal.