Monthly Archives: January 2013

Becoming a Culinary Goddess (or How I Learned to Eat Spinach and Be Okay with It)

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Here’s the deal: my biggest concern going into marriage had nothing to do with finances or losing my freedom or having to share a bed with someone for the rest of my life. Maybe it should have been those things since my husband had to quit his job in another city to be with me (subsequent 6 month unemployment), I haven’t seen most of my friends in months (in fairness this is due to relocation and the aforementioned extended lack of two incomes), and my husband snores (please don’t tell me I do as well, I refuse to listen to such nonsense – btw a pair of earplugs works just fine to block him out). No no, my friends, my biggest concern going into marriage was how our palates would collide. His internationally-schooled-on-the-streets-of-Chicago-organic-loving-fresh-food-fixing-actually-cooks-meals-on-a-stove taste meeting my rural-Midwestern-happy-when-everything-on-my-plate-is-white-and/or-cheese-the-microwave-is-my-best-friend-Tuna Helper-is-real-cooking-what-is-a-vegetable self.  I resolved not to let his “let’s cook dinner with the pots and pans we got for the wedding” ways (why did I think registering for those would be a good idea?) change the food I love.

That resolution is rife with issues, however. The most notable being how can you argue with someone who wants to buy food for its nutritional value? You can’t; I tried, “But I don’t WANT brown rice, white rice tastes so much better! And I NEED Kraft Mac & Cheese because I love it so and it was the first thing I ever learned to cook, so I’m really really good at it!”

Even in my desperate state, I knew I was on the losing end of that argument.

I get it. Everyone has to eat food to live. But why would anyone really want to ruin the pleasure eating can bring by consuming “healthy” foods? Do you hear that, Honey, I said WHY WOULD ANYONE REALLY WANT TO RUIN THE PLEASURE EATING CAN BRING BY CONSUMING “HEALTHY” FOODS?! So, please, stop trying to get me to eat green, leafy vegetables. I won’t enjoy them. I can’t enjoy them. Their bitterness makes me bitter. I hate them.

This was my secret plea for the first few months of our marriage as I begrudgingly (yet politely, I mean I did want my new husband to like me) went along with his food purchasing desires. And I found ways to work in things I loved under the guise of both of us being too tired or stressed to cook – frozen pizza and delivery to the rescue!

And then it happened; my husband herniated a disc in his lower spine and was stuck in bed for two weeks. One sleepless night of him writhing in pain, and my secret stubbornness went out the window. I wanted to do everything I could to make him comfortable and help him get better. This included making sure he consumed good food so his body could heal.

Up to this point, he had done almost all of the cooking. So, I pushed past my inexperienced cooking phobia and set out to make him real food. I had little idea what I was doing as I sauteed brocolli and mushrooms, but the Internet said I could do it, so I tried. And what did I discover?

Olive oil and garlic can make almost any green vegetable (even leafy ones) edible, sometimes even delicious.  Remember that; you’ll thank me.

I also learned sometimes you just have to eat something even if it isn’t your favorite thing in the world simply because, like every parent everywhere has ever said, it is good for you.

Caveat: Tomatoes. They literally gag me; yet everyone else in the world seems to be obsessed with tomatoes. What is with tomatoes?! And onions. Yeah, yeah, the flavor is fine, but biting into a piece? Ick. And bean sprouts. It isn’t that I detest them so much as I don’t see the point in them. They have no flavor and are a nuisance to eat. And-

Okay, so learning that lesson didn’t entirely cure me, but I really am okay with eating spinach. And that is something.