I have lived by that ever since. It covers every eventuality in the kitchen and serves as the perfect excuse for eating out, something my husband and I do a lot.
While I do make exceptions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, exhausted), cooking is just not my thing. It's a time-consuming, messy, math-heavy activity that is never as good as the photographs. And even if I really, really concentrate on a good outcome, it rarely happens.
I'd much rather read a book.
And now, three days shy of Charlie's favorite day of the year (like the Old Man in A Christmas Story, he is a turkey junky), I am schlepping canned goods from one end of the Jewel to the other.
After queuing in the checkout, a senior citizen continually whacked my backside with her cart.
Lady, I cannot move ahead in the checkout line because there is nowhere to move.
I haven't begun to cook and already I'm thinking Chinese restaurant.
My family is particular about food traditions. I bore myself silly cooking the same old things (that's you, green bean casserole). But try to swap out a few dishes and you'd think Santa wasn't coming to town.
When I mentioned the possibility of a new dish this year (keeping in mind our 2 1/2 year old grandson), our daughter told me I was making her nervous.
"What's this new thing you're making?"
"Something Zach might like."
"What is it?"
"Wouldn't you rather be surprised?"
"No way. Tell me."
"Mac and cheese. With Gruyère."
"Oh. Well. That's probably okay. But there must be spinach casserole. And don't forget the crescent rolls like you did last year."
"I don't remember that."
"How about you figure out the desserts?"
"Why can't you make sherbet parfaits like you did last year?"
I don't remember making parfaits last year. At all. Clearly, it was such an innovation that I dazzled myself into forgetting all about it.
What do you make for Thanksgiving that your family can't live without?
For us, it's Stephen's Spinach Casserole. Below is the recipe, the first -- and only -- time Naperville Now will ever post anything to do with cooking.
2 packages frozen chopped spinach (The stuff in a box. Birds Eye is superior.)
6 oz. cream cheese at room temperature (use the remaining 2 oz. on a bagel)
8 Tablespoons butter, softened (yup, the entire stick)
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese (grated, ground, your preference)
1 can artichoke hearts, well-drained (you can buy big; you can buy quartered; it's all the same, just not the marinated in oil kind.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare spinach according to directions. Transfer to sieve (I own one of these precisely because of this recipe) and press out excess moisture with a fork or spoon.
Mix cream cheese and butter; stir into hot spinach.
Place cut artichokes on bottom of casserole. Cover with spinach mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 30 minutes. Recipe is easily doubled.
|Whole Foods. You didn't really think I made this, did you?|