Reub's journey

06 February 2012

Cooking for one

Drawing by Franco Matticchio
Thirteen years ago, when all 3 kids were at home, John would go out of town and they would ask "Are we having tacos tonight?" And the answer was always "YES! Let's make tacos! Right now!" John didn't like the old-school tacos that the rest of us tucked into, so it was our chance to indulge: ground beef, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, olives, served on a warm crisp corn taco shell. But  John was right; these can be gut bombs, and I never make them any more. Even when he's out of town.

There are certain things that John doesn't/cannot eat: wild mushrooms (for which he has recently developed a terrible allergic reaction), cilantro (bad memories of food-related stuff in Afghanistan, plus it tastes like metal to him), and mussels. So when he is out of town, I step it up on these kinds of things. But mussels aren't in season right now, and I got turned off to the fabulous wild mushrooms at the farmers' market this weekend by this story, about a family that got lost for most of last week, collecting hedgehog mushrooms (which I love) and almost ate their pit bull. Jeeezus!

Pictured here are the things I couldn't resist at the farmers' market: "Hell Dust" made by a local pepper-grower (the name alone is irresistible, and it has a wonderful smokey-hot flavor), organic bacon dog treats for E&R (5 bucks, but the vendor was native American and I couldn't resist, plus E&R really approve), tatsoi greens (am I the last person to have heard of these fantastic, versatile greens?), and finally an amazing veggie stromboli with a sour dough crust, baked by a Californian-moved-to-rural-Oregon (how many thousands of times has this happened?) And then I bought myself a bouquet of red tulips, still closed.

So what have I made for myself? I don't actually believe in "cooking for one." When I'm alone I cook a feast for 2-4, and heat up the leftovers the next night.  The tatsoi-which resembles a deep-green wedding bouquet- was my centerpiece for a really great stir-fry, with chicken, ginger, garlic, chili oil, peanuts, and soy sauce. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of it, but you'll have to take my word; it was great. When John comes back, we'll go back to the farmers' market, get more tatsoi and make it all over again.

By that time, maybe I'll be up for hedgehog mushrooms, on the side.


  1. They almost ate their DOG? Why didn't they eat the mushrooms?

  2. Don't worry buddy. It all worked out in the end. And i will never ever eat you.

  3. Laoch: It did have sesame oil in it! I forgot to say that. I love sesame oil. They sell it bulk at the Asian food store.

  4. Yes, I would buy that pepper just for the label!

  5. Yum! Looks really good!!! Organic bacon dog treats! Wow, my dogs would go crazy over those!

  6. When I'm alone I don't cook at all. I just turn into a rodent and scavange anything near me that doesn't require work or needs to be put on a plate. I will sometimes use a spoon for ice cream.

  7. I'm sure I'd buy that Hell Dust, also. And I'm with John as far as cilantro goes.. only to me, it tastes like burnt plastic. Ugh!

  8. Rebecca: I used it for the 1st time tonight, and it was good and hot and smokey, as promised! I think you can buy it off of their website if you're interested.

    GG; E&R love 'em. Doesn't seem like they really taste them though.

    B&B: Ha! I totally relate to the part about staggering towards the freezer with a spoon in hand. Come to think of it, I could use some ice cream right now...I wonder what we have?

    Hilary: John has read that the distaste for cilantro is a genetic thing: some people actually taste it differently. Interesting!

  9. When my ex husband was out of town, I cooked all the things he disliked. He hated fresh tomatoes, for instance, so I made for myself what I called "Forbidden Salad." Ha.

    Now I can eat whatever the hell I want. There is no such thing as cooking for one - you are spot on.

    Had no idea you had 3 kids! Wow.

  10. Reya: It would be sad to never have fresh tomatoes, "forbidden salad"! Bet you have that all the time now:)

    Yep, 3 kids, two sons and a daughter: in Chicago, NYC, and Ithaca, NY. (I wish I had my own airplane.)

  11. I'd be gasping for air! Hot food? Absolute NONO for me.
    But I like farmers' markets.


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