Friday, September 28, 2018

Food And Happy Spouses


I came across an article I wrote some years ago as a Guest Blogger for a friend who was doing a series on "Happy Spouses". I always meant to post it here at some point, but as I found it lingering in my draft file, I assume I never did. So, rather than let it linger any longer, today's the day it gets another chance to shine. I hope you enjoy it.

Here's wishing you a wonderful weekend,

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Kissing don't last! Cookery do.
~ George Meredith

Do you know what makes your partner's eyes light up when it comes to food? What causes those wonderful laugh lines around his eyes to show up because he's grinning so wide? For my husband, it's not salmon or roast beef or turkey dinner. Sure, he really enjoys those dishes, but his hands down favourite meal is pasta. Every time. Any time. I don’t think I know anyone else who loves spaghetti as much as he does, and I don't think he’s ever met a pasta dish he didn’t like.

But it took me a while after we were married to recognize that it wasn't just a favourite, but the preferred choice most often, which meant for me, I really didn't have to wrack my brain trying to dream up other kinds of menus -- online pasta recipes seemed endless. How easy it would be to make my hubby happy if we had pasta on a regular basis.

Growing up in my family, we didn't know it as pasta -- we knew it as macaroni or spaghetti. We also knew the emergency boxes of Kraft Dinner; those were a family treat, at least for us kids. But, it was more of a standby meal when the larder got low or a quick meal was needed. My dad, along with all the men I knew in our farming community, was a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so I assumed my dear hubbs was the same. 

That's why, when a discussion came up about favourite meals, I was taken aback to learn that for Rick a great pasta meal with a homemade sauce that had simmered for hours even upstaged Christmas turkey dinner, my own personal favourite. In fact, he told me not long after we were married that he used to make himself pasta several times a week – not as a cop-out for cooking something more elaborate, but because he really, really, really liked it. That was a light bulb day for me. Pasta became a more regular part of our menu planning, but it was still something I had to consciously remember to include more often. Even to this day. Yes, I like pasta. I love some of the recipes we've had over the years. But it's never been, and probably never will be, my top favourite meal.

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way
we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing
and devote our attention to eating."
~ Luciano Pavarotti

The summer I wrote this article, we had a fine crop of cherry tomatoes. Picked early in September to avoid being frozen on their stems like Popsicles, dozens of tiny red and yellow orbs had been ripening in a big paper box in the garage. One day I peered in to find not just a handful but dozens ready for eating. There was no way we could consume that many in a salad or bruschetta for two, so we Googled recipes on what to do with cherry tomatoes.

One recipe said to roast them on cookie sheets with garlic, basil, and olive oil, and use them later in pasta sauce. So, that's what we did. Imagine it. That September day, I had just pulled the pans from the oven. Rick came into the kitchen which smelled heavenly -- we both felt transported to Italy right then and there. He bent his face and breathed in the garlic-y, tomato-y fragrance and uttered a happy "YUUUU-MEE!"

Suddenly I caught a glimpse of the eager little lad he must have been a long time ago in his own mother's kitchen. Who knows, I never asked him, maybe he used to wander in when she was preparing supper and lift the lids from pots, giving an appreciative sniff, often reaching for the wooden spoon to give things a stir, just as he does today. A little hands-on anticipation. 

I saw something else that day we roasted those tomatoes. Rick's spontaneous 'yummy' really was a clue to one thing that truly makes him happy. And, if I paid closer attention to those little clues that seem to arrive so airily that they're easy to miss, I had the opportunity and privilege to show this dear man I loved him and wanted him to be happy ... and I could do it one pasta dish at a time.

"People who love to eat are always the best people."
~ Julia Child

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  1. I love to have those insights about the things that are important to our loved ones, the things that make them tick. Makes life better for everybody. Wonderful that you were able to have that 'aha' moment about your dear hubs and his love of pasta.

  2. Interesting read. My Hubby would have been satisfied with a slice of homemade brown bread and peanut butter.He was a simple man when it came to food.

  3. Oh, I love this post! I am the pasta lover at my house, while my hubby is the typical meat-and-potatoes guy. You are so right: The "right" meal can generate lots of enthusiasm and is a wonderful way to say "You are loved!"

  4. I can almost smell the tomatoes roasting! Good for your husband that you make him yummy pasta meals.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  5. Love this post Bren. I am a pasta lover too. Mike is a food lover, which makes him very easy to cook for. However, just the other day I made Ina Garten's summer pasta and it was divine. It uses lots of cherry tomatoes and he thought it was great. Life really is about the 'little things.' They make our worlds go round.

    Happy weekend to you and your hubby!

  6. Word Pictures: You create them and then transport me out of my room and into my mind!
    I'm going to try those baked tomatoes!

    "You don't need a silver fork to eat good food." ~Paul Prudhomme

  7. my hubby loves pizza at least two times a week. I like it too but not that much. Discovering Digorno's frozen pizza and adding fresh veggies has simplified my cooking times...thx for an interesting article!

  8. I'd have to say that pasta would also be on top of my hubby's list...spaghetti w/meatballs or more recently fettuccine alfredo w/chicken BUT I would also consider him a meat & potatoes man. Is that even possible?? Great post!

  9. This is lovely, Brenda. My husband loves almost everything, but lemon meringue pie or cinnamon buns really please him. And roast beef with horseradish sauce.

  10. After we,d been married many, many years, my husband, who will eat anything, told me he didn’t like tomato based sauces. I was truly shocked, as I used that kind of sauce at least once a week! Now I happily make him other things, and more rice dishes than pasta!

  11. Oh this was a fun read. You are a good wife!

  12. It is the nicest thing of all, when someone pays attention to your little clues, even when all they say is 'I really love pasta'. We hardly ever eat pasta around here. I wonder why.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo