Tonight my wife attended a club meeting, for one of her "groups". I get into the habit of just "heating something up" when I eat alone, or even just picking something up "eating out".
I wanted to be a bit more grown-up than that tonight. I reached into our freezer, and got out a ham steak from the collection of fresh home-raised pork our friend Dell brought us weeks ago. I fired up the grill on our postage-stamp patio, which abuts our postcard-size backyard.
I cooked a thin but otherwise sizable ham steak over open gas grill flame, while Seventh Heaven characters kept burbling on about growing up and taking responsibility. I meticulously peeled two large carrots. Then I toasted two slices of bread, for an appropriately carboniferous carbohydrate load.
Everything in this simple repast came out stunningly good. I think that when one is only a subsistence cook who lives with a good cook, it's too easy to get out of the routine of cooking. But I plan to fall back into the routine.
Once, early in our marriage, I did all the cooking for a month, as a kind of social experiment. The charming aesthetic presentation of sauteed crookneck squash, coupled with the truly spiritual experience of Spaghetti-O's night, caused my wife ultimately to suggest we not permanently alter the cooking patterns in our household.
My wife still laughs about the time that her boss came over for dinner in Los Angeles on a night that I, for some reason, chose to do the cooking. The entree, little steaks, came out quite workably. However, the tater tots caused a sensation because instead of oven-roasting them, I worked them up in a steamer. I personally believe that steamed tater tots impart a kind of haute totesquerie to the repast.
But the absurdist impression on her boss of the souffle-style-puffed tots apparently still inspires a chuckle in my wife's recollection, many years later.
I plan to make it a point to cook more often than I do. Simple pleasures are the best, particularly when they are well-steamed.