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He came home at six from a hard day at the office, I handed him an ice-cold gin martini and the evening newspaper, perhaps his pipe and slippers.
In reality, Malcolm walked out of his office, down the hall from mine, which doubles as the guest room, and I handed him an oil can of Foster’s and a halfpint Sol glass, that I did not personally import from Mexico. He had been on his internet, and I mine. Our work is separate, though we are together in the apartment all day, both quietly typing from home. It suits us.
He cooks as often as I do, or we go out, get takeout or, like last night, forego real food to drink wine and pop corn on the stove, to have while we watch Jersey Shore, Family Ties or Community. We are even less discriminating about television than we are with regard to food. And you’ve seen where we’ve set the bar on the latter. But every once in a while, I channel my inner Donna Reid and make a pleasant dinner for my lawfully wedded better half. It’s usually something very simple.
Pork chops. Basmati rice. Little button mushrooms cooked in lots of butter. Green beans with red onions.
The chops were thick, bone-in and beautiful, dusted with garlic, sage, salt, pepper, and cayenne and slapped on a very hot and olive oiled griddle. Three minutes per side then directly into e 485 degree oven for another three minutes, more or less. This actually happened at the very last, and while they rested comfortably I plated the rice cooked with broth and butter, mushrooms sauteed in the same, and green beans which I added to steam on top of a heap of slowly cooked and thinly sliced red onions.
It was an easy feast, but one that made us both feel beloved, caring and cared for, part of a family. He asked what he had done to deserve such a meal and I replied a million things, and meant it. We sat on the living room rug, with our plates on the table inscribed with three generations of Malcolms and ate slowly and talked, while Olivia stood nobly by for her bone. I could have lit candles in the dining room, poured wine to go with our humboldt fog cheese, but instead we huddled close and casual on the couch; while the world goes by we wait and watch together, laughing.
It’s such a simple thing, the desire to make someone happy. Isn’t that why we do it? Why we cook and compare and share our successes and even our occasional failures to create something good. To demonstrate our devotion, to connect and proffer love in the form of food. Seeking sustenance, providing nutrients, our everyday attempts at making love appear more apparent in the quotidien world. Plus, pork chops taste delicious.