A sign in our kitchen reads: “If it walks out of the fridge on its own, let it go.”
I cannot for the life of me imagine why that sign is there.
Ever since my wife and I first got together, my cooking and eating habits (lack thereof and abundance of, in that order) have been the source of rich commentary.
For instance, my wife was horrified — absolutely horrified — when she discovered that I would brew a pot of coffee and then each subsequent morning pour myself a mug of Joe and microwave it.
Within days, she had gotten a plastic coffee filter holder and filters to fit so that I could brew a fresh cup of coffee each morning.
See, the thing with me is that when it comes to food I want to avoid fuss — a four-letter word that begins with F-U and is just as profane.
For quite a while I lived by a recipe book — a term I will use generously — called “A Can, a Man, a Plan.”
It was put out by the same publishers as Men’s Health magazine and offered to simplify healthy meals.
For example, boil up some pasta, open a can of tuna fish, pour onto the pasta, sprinkle it with tomato sauce and shredded cheese and nuke in the microwave.
Instructions so simple that even I could follow. Plus it hardly required much in the way of preparation and it was relatively nutritious.
I admire people who are adept in the kitchen and can follow recipes and cook up a storm.
I will bring into work 3-day-old salad that is seriously past its prime. When my wife Meg protests, I will usually just say with a dismissive wave of the hand, “Oh, it’s fine.”
Leftovers. Food with freezer burn. Food that is beyond its expiration (but not meat).
It’s all pretty much fair game for me.
If it passes the sniff test, I’m good.
So you can imagine how grateful and blessed I am to have Meg in my life.
Among her abundance of fine qualities, she is an amazingly adept and adventurous cook. My dinners are flavorful and complex and never boring.
Of course, when she is away and I am left to my own devices, I will revert to my sorry ways and fix a bowl of oatmeal for dinner.
I recently bought a low-grade of turkey from the supermarket deli and when I tried to defend it as being equal to a brand name, such as Boar’s Head, Meg said to me: “I love you, but you are no judge.”
She’s right of course.
Well, now if you will excuse me, I have a cup of coffee to microwave.
Christopher Mele is married and the proud dad of two sons and two adult stepchildren, all of whom have given him prematurely white hair. His childhood in the Bronx defined his friendships, which endure today and for which he is grateful. A career newsman, writer and editor, the Lords Valley resident is glad for the opportunity to share stories and insights about the challenges that the modern-day middle-aged guy faces in the world. Reach Chris at [email protected]