the things we do for love…

September 2, 2009

Most of the married population will tell you that after each year passes, the anniversary becomes less and less extraordinary, save for the biggies (7, 15, 25, etc…). That three-year anniversary that falls smack-dab in the middle of a work week leaves much to be desired. Suddenly the two of you decide you are just fine with noshing on Chinese take-out accompanied by your favorite bottle of vino while catching up with your tivo. Throw kids in the mix and the night changes even more drastically, leaving the two of you to snack on your “pre-dinner” dinner of hot dogs and green beans, catch some Yo Gabba Gabba, read a few books, do the bed-time routine and then pray your head doesn’t plop into your vegetable lo mein as you try to make it through your romantic dinner without crashing. The reason I even bring this up is because my own anniversary is rapidly approaching and, you guessed it, it happens to fall not only in the middle of the work-week, but the day before I am set to go out of town. Throw into the mix that we do, in fact, have a young curly haired toddler dude that rocks our world and you are starting to see my dilemma.

photo courtesy of *Peanut (Lauren)s flickr photostream
photo courtesy of *Peanut (Lauren)’s flickr photostream

The hubby and I celebrate everything through food. Christmas morning, it’s a giant breakfast spread and we even break out the espresso machine that has gathered some dust since my child-rearing days (the steamer was so loud and I would rather die than wake a –finally– sleeping infant). So my mind immediately leaps to what I can cook for our anniversary dinner, after a long day at the office, before heading out for a trip. I am thinking that I can prep my dinner the evening before, so that all I have to do is prepare it when I arrive home. This leads my thoughts to a casserole-type of dish. But come on, it is supposed to be a special occasion, right? A tad frustrated and armed with the drive to find a somewhat elegant dish that I can prepare the day before, I went to, where else, my beloved foodnetwork.com. I quickly found what I would fix! A Lobster Mac and Cheese – easy enough to prep the night before and throw in the oven, day of yet fancy enough because it had the lobster in it. Sidenote: the hubby loves lobster. I myself am more of a crab person but the dish fits the bill and hey, anything soaked in two kinds of cheeses, surrounded by pasta and covered with more cheese is good in my book.

Realizing that I would make this Lobster Mac and Cheese even though I wasn’t so crazy about lobster got me thinking of all of the (food related) sacrifices I have made over the years in my marriage. Things like:

1. Leaving the last bit of cream for him even though I like my coffee creamier and could have used it all.
2. Routinely preparing some of his childhood favorites that I find to be less than desirable (read: smoked sausage with cabbage).
3. Buying the lighter French Roast coffee because he states the kind I like (Columbian or Espresso Roast) will “put hair on your chest.” Wuss.
4. Leaving his ego intact by keeping quiet as he mans the grill and oftentimes overcooks my pork.
5. Re-rinse the dishes he has loaded into the dishwasher because they still have food stuck on them – while he is not looking, of course. And still say thank you for “doing the dishes this time.”

These are all little things, sacrifices I make in my food life as a married woman and I really can’t complain because he is the best eater a gal could ask for. And I know for a fact that he’s shared a couple of his least-favorite dishes with me just to make me happy. The things we do for love. I’ll let you know how the Lobster Mac and Cheese turns out. Am thinking I’ll just do a salad with it. It looks like a pretty rich recipe and I’m certain I’ll blow a bundle on the lobster so all I will be able to afford is a bag of greens.

I remember about 4 years ago catching an episode of Barefoot Contessa in which Ina Garten was preparing a huge spread for an elegant dinner party she was throwing. In the midst of making some of the most refined (and French) dishes, she pulls out her trusty, classic white porcelain place settings to set the table.  In this particular episode, she made a point of saying that using white place settings ensures an elegant, classy and clean-looking table while still feeling cozy, comfy and welcoming.  Not to mention, what you are really wanting to showcase is the tasty goodness you have prepared and what better way to do so than with a white backdrop? Since then, I’ve been slowly adding to my own collection of white porcelain place settings along with serving dishes and must say that I agree with Ms. Garten – they are divine and really make the food possess this “come and get me” attitude. In retrieving my mail from the box a couple of days ago, I happened across the newest Sur La Table catalog (yes, I still get catalogs, I know it’s not “green” but it’s one of those things I can’t help – I live for my catalogs) and noticed they are having a “Stock-Up Sale” on all of their whiteware. If you feel like your old place settings just aren’t cutting it but don’t want to drop a load of money on something you will only break out twice a year, then this is your lucky day! Pop over to their site and check out this amazing deal. This whiteware is the best investment. It’s classy enough for dinner parties, will coordinate with any fresh flower arrangement or centerpiece and yet still practical enough for the regular Saturday night spaghetti dinner with the hubster and kids. And best of all … it’s on SALE!