David cooked me breakfast for the first time in our relationship. And there was nary a carb in the whole thing. Super.
It seems that I have not been responsive enough to David's new diet...er, I mean "new lifestyle". It seems all that normal, home-cooked, hot breakfast I cook every morning is not meeting his "new lifestyle" needs (if you are behind on my husband's "new lifestyle", he's on one of those no bread, alcohol, pasta, potatoes, sugar or anything else fun diets...er, I mean "lifestyles") and so instead of asking me to cook something from the recipe section of his diet book, where I would just roll my eyes, mock his manhood or just shake with laughter, he decided to cook it himself.
Who am I to complain? I say: You just go do your thing, baby. Try not burn down the kitchen and I'll just sit here and write down everything you say. And take pictures. I like pictures.
Okay, so the first thing he tells me after coming back from Pathmark with several large bags of groceries is that he has made a few ingredient "substitutions". Now, if you're, like, a Top Chef contestant, you can make a few ingredient substitutions and no one will be the wiser, maybe it will even be better, but if this is the first time you've cooked in like EVER, you might not want to be free ballin' it.
But not my husband. He free balls.
So, at this point, I have no idea what he's making because he has refused to tell me the name of the dish or disclose the protein which is concealed in several ominous-looking bags at the far end of the kitchen.
This makes me worry. Yet, I am curious - the way people are curious to watch the "Taxi" guy on "Celebrity Rehab" vomit on himself and fall asleep while speaking. I am inexplicably drawn to this bizarre sight, my husband in the kitchen waving a wooden spoon around an acting like he belongs there. I cannot divert my eyes.
Then, he does this thing where he talks like a cooking show host while he's cutting up peppers and onions, explaining to me his process, and he's really performing for me now, explaining his philosophy on carbs and why a certain group of people in a certain area of the world who eat a lot of potatoes look "puffy" and that's why he isn't "puffy" because he doesn't eat potatoes and then he launches into a diatribe about how prep is all-important, but he doesn't want to call it "mise en place" because it's French and pretentious and being grounded and close to the food source is important for any cook, but he goes on to say that being prepared is essential to every chef no matter what you call it and yes, he does refer to himself as a chef and decides he needs an apron for himself and thinks we should take a little trip to Williams Sonoma, even though I think this is the last time I'm letting this guy into my kitchen and then he starts chopping his spinach and tells me he's going for a "rough-hewn artisanal style" which is code for "big and irregularly-sized and chunky with stems attached"
I ask him again about the protein and he says, "There's more to life than cured meats, baby" and he winks at me and makes that clucking sound with his tongue that lewd guys make while you walk by them on the street. The guys with dirty fingers nails who chain smoke cigarettes and drink over-sized bottles of beer out of paper bags. Those guys. He clucks his tongue like that.
Then, he lets me know that whatever he's making, he thinks the girls won't eat. And this, I am overjoyed about, because you know, not only do I have to eat the carb-less breakfast without anything, you know, delicious in it, but I have to cook a separate meal for the kids and as you know, I have a fairly strict policy on cooking separate meals - I don't - and then, my heart falls when he confesses that this is a "vegetarian breakfast" and immediately, like a Pavlovian dog, I start craving fats. Lard. Butter. Bacon. I really want bacon at this point. Bacon cooked in butter and lard. Or just a bowl of lard.
Then, he starts complimenting his own knife skills and after completing the cutting of the garlic, runs his fingers through the little nuggets sensuously and says in his most self-satisfied voice, "very nice work."
And then, we have an audience of kids, who cannot help but wonder what the hell Daddy is doing in the kitchen, which prompts a "cooking is not just for girls" talk and this all seems educational until he says "Mommy, is a little worried, girls. She thinks Daddy might turn into some kind of cooking prodigy and knock her off her little kitchen throne" which then made me sputter and make a raspberry sound with my lips and the girls joined in and David cooked while we made fart sounds with our mouths, which is like the kind of thing we do in our family.
Here is where we see that bad cooking habits develop early: David keeps his recipe book on the stove. The recipe made of paper. Near the fire.
I document for the insurance company.
Then, more ingredient substitutions. It seems the chard is "a bit awkward for a first time cook", so he substitutes leeks and spinach. "The leeks are my own personal touch" he tells me, all proud and I confess that spinach and leeks sound way better than chard. So, score 1 for David.
He doesn't know what Tamari is or where to find it at Pathmark, so he asks if he can throw something in from "one of your bottles in the pantry", as if you can substitute one liquid for any other liquid just because they are both liquids, to which I am aghast and my mouth is hanging open like a sea bass and then, he says, "This cooking thing isn't so difficult. You just throw a bunch of things together in a pan."
I feel like pelting him with eggs.
I remove the sesame oil from his hand and hand him the dark soy sauce. I reach over and throw a little salt into his carmelizing vegetables, which completely throws him off and he shouts, "Hey! There is no salt in my recipes!"
And so, I do a brief history of salt and preserving and everything I've learned on Ruhlman and why you don't want to be the cook known for never using salt because like, no one wants to eat food that tastes like cardboard. Or feet.
And then, I make this analogy about how cooking with salt is the difference between seeing the world in black and white or color and I'm thinking that's cool and I'm cool and kind of rico suave in the kitchen and he must be totally soaking up my cooking gems, but he has his head in his recipe and he barely knows I'm in the room because he is in some ecstatic cooking revery.
Apparently, he can't wait for me to taste his recipe. I sense an episode of Fear Factor coming on.
And then, there is another mishap with fire. A dish towel left on a burner. Seriously, any minute I'm thinking this is yet another blog post with a picture of firemen.
Oh, what the hell.
As long as we're making it all up...
You know, I never let you guys down.
Back to the food, people. Eyes on the food - I offer to make Chinese eggs to go with the mystery dish and I am rebuffed.
"No. That's the whole point," he says earnestly. "It's a self-contained meal."
We're getting to the big reveal. The mystery protein. David struggles with plastic bags. Strings out the tension as long as he can, but whatever this protein is, it needs to get in the pan.
Tofu. The kids cheer like it's freakin' Christmas.
Little do they know they'll be expected to eat it. Wa Ha Ha.
My man has gone out into the wilds, wrestled the beast and made us...Da Da a Daaaaaaaa...a tofu scramble. I'm hot right now.
If he starts wearing Berkinstocks and calling everybody "Dude", he's outta here.
Actually, you can't tell from my photography skills but it was pretty good. Except it needed some kind of fat and even David conceded that it was screaming for fat. But the kids ate it, which meant it really was self-contained. Who knew?
But if you talk to David, don't tell him he did a great job with breakfast. You really don't want to hear about the puffiness. And he won't be able to stop himself.
PS You don't really want the recipe for this, do you?