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2000:  The Last of Peggy
2001:  No Business Like It
2002: 
The Fleecing of Beverly
2003: 
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2004: 
Not My President
2005
Having the Time of Your Life

2006: That's Why

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The Martian Child (feature story)
Whistle Down the Wind

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Updated: 11/03
"Blessings"




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14,500

4 November 2007

I was standing in front of the open freezer the other day trying to figure out what I wanted to cook.  Again.  Out of curiosity, I decided to do some calculating.

Walt and I have been married 42-1/2 years.  We don't go out to eat a lot, but we do occasionally.  And when we are on vacation we eat out, so I decided to generously allot two years for dinners out in restaurants or in someone else's home.

That means that I have cooked over 14,500 dinners since we got married.  No wonder I have run out of ideas.

I had such great ideas about gourmet meals when we got married.  That was before "eeeuuuwww...what's that?" and "Mom...do I have to eat that?" for several years.  It was also when I could feed a family of 7 on under $100 a week.  Now I have trouble feeding two of us for that amount (well, add in cleaning products and miscellaneous sundries, but it's all purchased at the supermarket).

Walt and I got to know each other because I cooked dinner for him and all of his 6 roommates for a year.  That's when I learned to cook.  And when I learned how to buy the cheapest food in the store and stretch it to feed 7 hungry men (you could buy breast of lamb for 10 cents a pound and it was just as good as spare ribs).

It was a good thing that Walt already knew I could cook because the very first meal I cooked for him after we married was a spectacular disaster.

It was breakfast on our honeymoon.  We were in a housekeeping cabin in Jasper National Park in Canada.  We had chosen a housekeeping cabin to save money on eating out (setting the tone for the rest of our married life).  The cabin had a stove, but no fridge.  It had a toaster.  This kind...

It toasted bread in about 30 seconds, but we didn't discover that until our toast has burned.

Because of having no fridge, we bought canned bacon, which didn't have to be refrigerated.  And we bought eggs.  In the morning we discovered that the stove didn't work, so we brought the Coleman stove in from the car and set it on top of the burners on the stove.  The kitchen area was on one side of the room and the only plug in the room was in the middle of the room, on the fireplace mantle, so the toaster went there.

I tried cooking the bacon, but had never worked with canned bacon and discovered that rather than leaving nice fat which I could then use to cook eggs in (I don't think we had any butter either, because of no fridge), it just glopped up in the pan and when I tried to cook the eggs, I got some grey stuff that looked more like someone's brains than scrambled eggs.  And, of course, the toast burned and was dry because we had no butter.

This was the very first "gourmet" meal that I cooked in my new marriage, where I had promised a lifetime of gourmet meals.  Fortunately, he already knew that I could cook.

I always thought it would be fun to put together a book of beloved family recipes to pass along to my children, but I don't think I have any beloved family recipes.  There are no recipes that the kids come home begging for.  My specialties generally ended up being "something with hamburger in it" or "something with chicken in it," and attempts at fancy things that I could on somebody not liking.  The gourmet cook in this family is Tom.

I think I'm a good cook, but the thrill has gradually gone out of it most of the time.  Now I go to Costco and load up on: thick pork chops, frozen chicken breasts, frozen chicken terriyaki breasts, hamburger, and frozen ravioli.  With luck that can last me for a couple of weeks, or perhaps even a month.  I can do a lot with a stash like that, but it's the same stuff recycled over and over again, of course. 

Part of my problem is that I really feel that for me it's cheating to buy processed foods, so I pass up most of the fancy stuff that just requires re-heating because I know I can make it and it will taste better and cost less; it's just that I don't want to  go to the trouble.

Once in a while I get inspired by the Food Network and try something fancy.  I can pretty much handle most of the fancy stuff I try to do.  I am a good cook.  But after +/- 14,500 meals, my very favorite meal is any meal that someone else cooks for me!  And if it comes in a restaurant where a staff will clean the dishes afterwards, that's even better!

PHOTO OF THE DAY


Now this is what I call a good dinner ... shrimp caprese at Olive Garden
(i.e., someone else cooked it for me and I didn't have to do the dishes!!)

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