Tuesday, January 12, 2010

what can i make for dinner?

i know there are women out there who start there day with the question, "what can i make for dinner?"  i'm not one of them.  i wish i was that kind of woman.  i guess it's because of my a.d.d. kind of living. every evening, at about five or five thirty, i find myself thinking, "oh my God, it's dinner time!"  in some ways, it's kind of fun.....it's like a surprise party every day.

after college, living with roommates, we all worked to make some delicious dinners.  we had four friends from college all living in the same building, 2 of us on the 3rd floor and 2 of us on the 5th floor.  it was a walkup.....that's alot of stairs.  we were all starting out....we weren't making alot of money....we shared alot of meals...we all had recipes from home.  it was new and exciting.  we entertained alot.  i user the word entertain lightly.  i mean, we had wicker and beach chairs for the first few months.  we had an oven that set off the fire alarm everytime we broiled a hamburger.  we laughed everytime.  sometimes, one of us had money and the others didn't....we worked it out well...we had good friends and fun.  that made the meal.

one of our greatest mishap meals happened on night after work at marybeth's new, movin' on up, apartment on east 85th street...she had moved up 20 blocks and got all fancy pants with a doorman.  in our 65th street apartment, we walked through the courtyard to our door that opened to a small foyer with our mailboxes.  when our arms were full, with groceries or shopping bags, we could give a little hip check and open the inner door and start the trek to kilamanjaro. we stopped for oxygen at the third floor apartment and continued the trek onward and upward.  the fifth floor apartment was a great stop en route to tar beach, our sunny beach spot on the roof.  we were the yuppie version of "the honeymooners" television show.

marybeth and i cooked our dinners together throughout the whole summer after college.  we lived in the hamptons. we were living large....in location, not in dollars.  we made some very creative dinners.  marybeth was a major force in the shopping list department.  st that time in our lives, i was more into the cheetos, chips and miller light on the menu.  marybeth stayed on task.  so, we did eat more thatn cheetos....most of the time.

one day that summer, we got a call from our college dean of students and assistant dean of students.  they were out in the hamptons and hoping to spend the afternoon eith us at the beach in southampton. no big deal...well, kinda.  did i forget to mention that they were nuns!  yes nuns.  we went to a catholic all women's college.  granted, the nuns were cool, from wealthy, well heeled families....the "fun nuns", our parents nicknamed them, while sharing cocktails at pour parents  weekends.  they drank, they smoked and they told pope jokes.  they were like the fun aunts in the family, like auntie mame....wearing a cross....no habit, they "kicked the habit", years before.  they dressed in high style.

we were looking forward to the visit.  somehow, we had lost perspective on "casual entertaining"....although we scheduled our date with the "fun nuns", once they arrived at our cottage, we immediately became aware of our lack of fine foods for entertaining...even picnic style!  we  spent the afternoon at the beach, sharing oreos and light beer.  they have since died.....not from bad oreos and beer.....although we almost died of embarrassment!  and if they were still alive, i don't think i could have even written about our faux pa.

so, back at marybeth's new 85th street apartment, we were well beyond oreos and beer.  so we thought. by that time, we may have thought ourselves more ladylike, by drinking glasses of white wine....not to say we behaved like ladies when we drank! we worked hard to create a delicious chicken dinner.  we were getting a bit confused about how to prepare our chicken.  we debated a bit confused and a little bit desperate, we both tried to remember how our mother's made their chicken.  marybeth remembered her mother using eggs.  i remembered my mom dipping the chicken in egg and flour and baking it at 350 degrees.  did my mom bake everything at 350 degrees?

i didn't really learn how to cook from my mom.  she worked at saks fifth avenue ...thankfully, i picked up the style way better than the cooking.  she just made the dinners, my mom didn't really have the time to teach me...she was all about getting the job done.

marybeth and i waited for our fine dining experience.  we opened the oven and shrieked.....it was chicken in a bun.  we had created the perfect meal to be served at mc donalds.  i think we mixed the egg and flour!

although i have come a long way, i have a long way to go.  i have 2 ovens in our kitchen right now....neither one is working.  we have been living on lots of pasta.  we have had lots of pizzas and salads picked up.  we now have a  refrigerator full of food and i aim to get back on the cooking bandwagon.  i really enjoy the creativity of cooking.

i have lots of cookbooks.  my mom gave me the joy of cooking at my wedding shower.  inscribed inside, she wrote, "read this!  it's not just for your cookbook collection!"  i am stating today.  and just as i finish writing, "what time is it?", you ask.  it's five thirty.  what will i make for dinner?  maybe tomorrow, i'll plan.

i didn't really learn how to cook from my mom.  she worked at saks fifth avenue ...thankfully, i picked up the style way better than the cooking.  she just made the dinners, my mom didn't really have the time to teach me...she was all about getting the job done.

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