Don’t judge me for this story but I HAVE HAD IT.
Why was I standing barefoot in the 24 degree garage this evening, digging through the recycling bin in a desperate bid to locate an empty can of white clam sauce?
Because I had had it.
Like I mentioned, I had HAD IT.
Let me back up. Tonight was noodle night at our house and I decided–since the kids won’t eat sauce anymore on their pasta–I might as well revive an old favorite easy meal from my past. One I hadn’t cooked in 10 years and I really missed it.
While the linguine boiled (and I tried to convince myself that Carlos wouldn’t throw a fit because it wasn’t spaghetti), I sauteed some fresh garlic and minced celery in olive oil. Cooked it nice and soft. Back in the day, I would have included an onion in there, but G doesn’t eat onions. Wait, he’ll eat French onion soup and Funyuns, and he buys onion powder for seasoning meat, but he won’t eat onion onions. They’re too oniony.
So…garlic, celery, olive oil. Then stir in a can of Progresso white clam sauce to save a few steps. Easy peasy. Serve over linguine with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and shaved Parmesan. Yummmmmmm.
Vivi scooped up her noodles…plain. Carlos added “shaky cheese” (that Parmesan in the green can) to his. G scooped up a plateful of linguine then skeeted about two tablespoons of the clam sauce on it. I fixed my plate and dreamed about the cold bottle of Soave I would have served with this and the crusty baguette…back in the day.
Vivi started eating her noodles by shoving in an entire forkful, then tearing the hangy downy parts with her hands. No. Carlos took one bite then went on walkabout through the living room and den. Nope. I kept on enjoying my dinner.
I looked over and G is picking at his plate. Oh hell nope. I give him a look and he says, “Are there onions in this?”
“I didn’t put any in there. But maybe there was some in the canned sauce.”
Next time I looked over, he had made a little clam pile on the edge of his plate.
THAT’S what drove me to be digging around in the trash after dinner. ONION DRAMA. There’s not a damn bit of onion in there.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick of catering to everyone else’s culinary choices. I haven’t sauteed an onion in EIGHT YEARS and sauteeing an onion was Step One of every recipe my mama and daddy taught me.
Vivi will eat an entire clamshell of grape tomatoes but won’t eat tomato sauce. No pizza or spaghetti bolognese. Carlos likes carrots if they’re raw but screams if he sees them in beef stew. Vivi will eat apples but not apple sauce. Carlos won’t eat chicken nuggets, for godsake! The girls will eat mac and cheese but the boy won’t. And don’t even think about making the version of mac and cheese I used to make with the Gruyere sauce and the butternut squash. Nope. Blue box. Shredded cheese is fine but string cheese is the devil’s own. One only eats toast with butter and the other won’t touch it if butter has been near. And by “butter,” I mean “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” because they like that better than real butter.
Victoria used to be a picky eater and had FINALLY broadened her palate…just in time to get braces. No sharp things, sticky things or stuck things.
I am so sick of the seven recipes I make over and over and over because there’s something in them that everyone will eat. Chili, taco salad, stir fry something, noodles, chicken broccoli casserole, cabbage soup. Yes, these weirdos tear up some cabbage soup like it’s birthday cake.
But DAMN, I miss real cooking. I used to make my own vinaigrette with freshly crushed garlic and grapeseed oil. The secret is to muddle sea salt with the garlic to really pull out the flavor. I had truffle oil and I used it to “finish” things. I roasted corn, baked bread, paired wines. I shaved my own damn Parmesan. The door of the fridge was filled with cornichons, pomegranate syrup, ground mustard, Irish butter, fig preserves.
The garlic press, the cruet, the wine decanter–all are gathering dust in the pantry.
I’ve been spending all this time in the kitchen keeping everyone happy. Except myself.