Friday, March 27, 2009

Fried Calamari & David Goes to Australia

I'm up at 4:30 writing you a blog post again.

Not because I planned it that way, but because I was having a small panic attack while laying in bed and I thought it would be more productive to go to the living room and have one. In front of all of you.

See, David is leaving Saturday for a business trip to Australia. For a week. Or "seven sleeps" as Lucy calls it. And I am a big fat wuss when he leaves. It's not that I need help with the kids or that I can't entertain myself alone, it's that, well, I feel trussed to him. He is the one, and perhaps only, really sane, not even remotely hysterical, sense-making person in my life. I think without him I might just fly away in the big hot air balloon of craziness and never be a sane, rational, earth-bound person again.

David holds me here and tethers me to something consistent, predictable and comforting. And that's all pretty nice.

David says it's not about any of that - he says I'm afraid of the dark. And I am. That's true. I have a box of 10 night lights that I'm ready to plug in in every area of the house as soon as he steps out into the hallway with his luggage. I also hear strange sounds a lot when he's gone and then, I imagine those sounds are ghosts and our house is like the one in the Amityville movie and we'll have to evacuate to the neighbor's apartment in the middle of the night as doors open and slam shut by themselves and a howling wind appears in our bedroom shaking our bed and people who haven't realized they're dead howl in agony at me as I try to flee with terrified children draped over me.

(If this has actually happened when your spouse has gone one a business trip, please don't write and tell me unless you are prepared to sleep here for a week. Thanks.)

I also made the exterminator come yesterday and give us a "just in case" once over. I did this because I'm convinced that the mice, cockroaches and waterbugs can "intuit" that David is going on a business trip and that they believe this is the perfect time to stage an infestation. The crazy Australian guy who could and has killed them with his bare hands is leaving. They sense this. It's some kind of pre-historic survival strategy. Truly, the only time we see mice or cockroaches is when David is more that 2,000 miles away from home.

When he's gone, I have to check all the closets obsessively just in case a mass murderer has broken into our apartment during the day and is hiding next to the vacuum cleaner, waiting for me to put the kids to bed and for me to doze off, before he leaps out and butchers us. I do this little ritual every night he's out of town and usually while on the phone, so that just in case I open the closet door and see a stranger hunkered down in there, I can scream and the person on the other end can call 911.

See, I have a plan.

And then, there's the plane. The real reason behind my panic attack. See, I'm okay if I'm on the plane because I think, "Well, we'll all die together." and that seems to make me feel better, but when David leaves without me and the kids and he doesn't take Qantas, which is like one of the super-safest airlines in the world and instead, takes a crap, nearly-bankrupted U.S. airline that has cheaper fares, but probably no mechanics to actually check the plane before take-off or I don't know, enough cash to actually put fuel in the plane for the 14 hour flight from LA to Sydney, well, I get antsy.

I start picturing how hard it will be to tell the kids about the terrible thing that happened to Daddy or how we will have to carry on without him and then, I start to imagine the whole scenario - single mom, children without a daddy, losing the love of my life, my partner, best friend...BLAH!

That's when I have a panic attack the size of Minnesota and end up writing to you at 4:30 in the morning.

So, the girls have been very aware that Daddy is leaving in a couple days and we've been talking about it a lot. Last night, we talked about the trip over a big warm plate of fried calamari, with tomato sauce on the side and a pile of lemon wedges. We sat around the girl's playroom table and without plates or forks, we just talked and dipped our fingers in for more crispy calamari while we chatted. We talked about Poppy and Granny Trish and Granny Ann and where Sydney was on the map and how Lucy rode a camel the last time she was in Australia. The idea of just reaching in and taking your fish without any kind of formality while we talked and told stories was exactly what we all needed.

For, like 2 minutes, I didn't even have a panic attack.

This dish is also super-economical. Squid is about $4 and change a lb. You could easily make a laid back supper or lunch of salad and fried calamari pretty cheaply or a great TV snack for 6 or 8 for under $10. And these days, that means something. This dish is also very easy and just as good as you can order at a restaurant.

Here you go - I'm going back to rocking back and forth in the corner and muttering to myself.

xo YM

Kim's Let's Hope The Plane Doesn't Go Down Fried Calamari Adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis


* Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
* 1 pound clean squid with tentacles, bodies cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick
rings (ask your fish monger to do this for you)
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons dried parsley
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 lemons, cut into wedges
* 1 cup simple tomato sauce (I make home-made sauce and always have some lying
around, but feel free to use jarred marinara to save time.)


Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Mix the flour salt and pepper in a large bowl. Working in small batches, toss the squid into the flour mixture to coat.

Carefully add the squid to the oil and fry until crisp and very pale golden, about 1 minute per batch. Don't overcook the squid. It needs a very short period of time to cook before it starts getting tough.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Press out any remaining oil.

Place the fried calamari and lemon wedges on a clean plate. Sprinkle with salt, a few squirts of lemon and parsley. Serve with marinara sauce.



SaintTigerlily said...

Ok, so I'm a little freaked out over here.

Me = terrified by planes, but only slightly less so when The Boss and I are on one together

Me = totally scared of the dark, don't know what I will say to my children if they are too, probably something along the lines of "Yeah, I hear THAT."

Me = certain that if The Boss goes somewhere without me not only will the apartment suddenly be flooded with raping, looting hooligans but also a car will jump a curb and hit him - even if he is just going to the market.

...I think it is entirely possible that we have matching crazy!

OR it could be like that time when my friend Ophelia and I both realized that we had fantasies about our favorite movie stars picking us up from school when we were little and were all bugged out by it until we realized it must be some sort of common maybe most people are afraid of the dark and certain their husbands or themselves will be murdered, killed or beset by vermin the moment they aren't together?

Maybe not.

Well, we have each other. Write if you need a hand checking the closets. :)

Cali said...

oh honey, you can come stay with me... so can saint tigerlily if ever the boss has to go out of town...
here, in the south we don't worry so much about those sorts of things :)

sarah said...

Once again, an ingenious recipe name. Love it.

auntjone said...

I must be the worst wife ever because all I think about on the rare occasions my husband travels for work is "Weeeeeeee! I get the bed to myself! Weeeeeeeee!".

Ahem. You'll be fine, I promise.

Mommy Lisa said...

In Minnesota we would say that fear is the size of New York City - go figure.

I get freaked out too - only slightly less so since we got the alarm system installed. I am always afraid it is not working.

cooknkate said...

Since my spouse rarely leaves me alone, I can't add my couple of bucks worth of advice to your already growing list of anxiety-ridding techniques.

But if I lived in your building, I would come over every day, esp. if you made me some of that calamari.

Ok, I would come over even if you didn't.

When did Minnesota become the replacement for Texas in terms of the largesse required to convey the enormity of one's emotions? I think y'all need to give us poor MN-sotans a break. Everyone picks on us.

Jen said...

That is EXACTLY the kind of freaked-out I get. In fact, I haven't even stayed in my house alone more than 1/2 of a night 6 years ago, when I packed up and drove 30 miles to a friend's house. Now if Matt will be gone, I make ahem alternate arrangements myself.

The worst part is that there's just NO WAY to turn off the crazy. Once you hear that noise and your mind takes you down that deep, dark path... there's no turning back.

So, uh, good luck with all that. At least you'll have the comfort-food thing under control.

melissa said...

STL - I match both your crazies. Is it possible all of us have suffered abandonment and loss and thus fear the worst? I know that's why in my case.

In any event, Kim, I definitely relate to the trussed remark. I'm flying to Dallas by myself on Sunday to see my mom for a few days and it will be the first time Steve and I have spent apart in many, many years. We are both freaked out because, to be honest, we're pretty much joined at the hip. Best friends. Constantly entwined. I think I may lose it a little bit at the airport.

Okay, now my stomach is doing flip flops. *Breathe* I wish we could stay with one another while in states of separation. It really would be much nicer (especially because my mom will be driving me bonkers by Day 2).

Much love and safe travels for David!