Earthy, With Hints of Floral

Last night, we had my favorite agnolotti (which is prissy for ravioli) for dinner. It's nothing too exceptional; just some frozen thing you can pick up at any old King or Queen Soopers for like $5.99 a package, but it's really good. It's filled with a blend of ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, Romano, and the very final moments of my marriage. 

For the first 16 years of our life together, he'd been home for dinner, on average, one night a week. I'd never been able to cook dinners that included him, and I'd never had help getting the kids settled for the night, because that's just not how the restaurant industry, or addiction, works. We wives and children to chefs and GMs are widowed and orphaned by Open Table. Add vodka and wine to that equation, and we were lucky to see him at all from Tuesday morning through Sunday night.

The new job he had taken in 2011 had him home for dinner three or four evenings a week, which was new for us - and quite nice in a normal-life sort of way. It wasn't very good in the hide-the-drinking-while-the-family-sleeps sort of way, which - as these things are wont to do - caught up with us with a vengeance eventually. 

The thing with co-dependency is that we want to believe so badly that we will twist and warp reality to make it believable to us no matter what pesky facts lie in our way. He had more late tables than any GM in the history of restaurant management, his drawers would never, ever balance, he'd have to work on national and corporate holidays when no one else is the entire company of hundreds was working, the makeup bags under my seat of the car were left by thieves digging through the car looking for change or ironic Robyn Hitchcock cassettes - and I'd find some way to believe it, always.  

I'm still not sure if I believed it because I didn't want to face the reality of what he was doing to himself and by proxy me and my children, or if I didn't want to face him when and if I called him on it. I'm still not sure it actually matters. 

So when he started working mornings, when he started coming home to us at night, I found a way to believe that we'd found the answer to our prayers. He was with us during the one time he could drink himself stupid; ergo, he couldn't drink himself stupid anymore. That's called science, bitches. It's logic. I beliiiiiiiiieeeeeved it. 

And I had hope. For him, for us, for my children, for his insane dog, for all of it. There was hope for the first time in a very long time. 

Because that's how addiction to addicts works. 

So this one night - after almost a full year of pure hell in which I had watched, listened, and smelled him nearly kill himself with vodka, watched my kids realize for the first time that their father had a problem, saw him physically hurt one of our children while he was drunk, saw him repeatedly emotionally hurt another child, dodged fists that went through doors instead of my face, asked for divorce, was denied a divorce, endured his long bouts of depression followed by long bouts of rage, given up all hope of saving him or leaving him - after all of that he got this job that made him feel useful and challenged amd secure again, one that had him home with his family more nights than not almost like a normal person, one that I convinced myself could keep him from drinking even though it was a wine bar and he had every key to it, and this one night I decided to bury the hachet, be a nice human being, make him a nice dinner, wear something cute, and welcome him home like I always imagined wives welcomed their husbands home at the end of a long day in a world that I didn't live in, but wanted to. 

So I made this dinner he'd never had before, this agnolotti (which is prissy for ravioli), and a big old salad that had all of his favorite salady-type-things in it. I put on a skirt and my nice makeup. I straightened my hair. I dabbed some perfume on. Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And he never came home

He never came home because if he couldn't drink at night, he was going to drink during the day, dammit, and drinking during the day means drinking during work and drinking during work at a wine bar means blacking out at 11am and not remembering anything until 7pm that night, across town, with no idea how you got there, were your car is, or how you are going to fix this. 

Because you can't fix this. Because this is your rock bottom. And it is mine, too. 

I sat on my corduroy double-wide arm chair that I loved more than just about any other earthly possession, the one I had to leave behind when we made our abrupt exodus from Texas because we didn't have enough money to rent a truck big enough to bring it, or any of my living room furniture that, I was told, was "just stuff" I "need to let go of". I sat on that chair under the warm orange glow of the table lamp I also don't own anymore and most of everything inside of me died.

It's funny how quickly fear gives way to anger, then humiliation, then resignation. 

By the time he came in the door, without a car or a job, I had already put all the children to bed sweetly and calmly, I had already cleared the table of his wilted salad and hardened pasta, and I had changed out of my skirt and sweater into the oversized sweats that had room enough in them for me and the waves of alternating panic and rage and sadness ebbing inside of me. It was over; the dream I had clutched in the palm of my foolishly-determined fist all those 16 years was finally over, and I'd finally, with finality, let it go.

He has no idea what happened to either one of us that night. I've never spoken of the details of that night with him, or with anyone for that matter. He never found the car he lost that night, and he never found the job he lost that night, and I never found the person I lost that night, the one inside of me that was willing, always, to give one last chance, to find one last reason to believe in him, in us, in that reality. 

On January 25th of this year, I made that same dinner again for the first time since that night, this time just for me and my children. I wore a skirt, I put on some makeup, I dabbed on some perfume, and I quietly counted the distance between that place I was a year ago and the reality I ended up living, 365 days later. 

Now we have it again on the seim-regular dinner rotation. It still tastes a bit like brown corduroy and grace, which will always be a bittersweet thing to swallow, but I think I am finally at the place where I like the taste of what is done, and what is becoming because of it. 

Things I Suck At, and Things I Don't.

NaBloPoOhWhaaa?

Turns out, I'm just too lazy to post on my blog every day. So it goes. 

It's been a long time since I've posted a Super Saturday Supper, mostly because it's been a long time since I've attempted to be a blogger, and somewhat because geez, food blogging blew *up* and I am after all poor, humble hipster, but partly because I've been guilty of more of this than I care to admit.

I'm trying to do less of all of those things.

So I cooked some this week, and this

turned into this

and it's all the Pioneer Woman's fault. The recipe is here and it is *stupidly* good.

As for tonight, well, let's just say that maybe I hate bacon, but I sure do love me some dead pig.

There is no recipe for that. It's made of win and brown sugar and some other shit.

I suck at food blogging.

Next week, the full Thanksgiving menu goes up, even if it ends up just being soup. I'm kind of on a soup kick. Sue me.

My standard Thanksgiving full menu is here

My variations of the turkey and potatoes are here.

Rate the Hate the So Awesome We Need Equipment Edition

Wow. It's been a really long time since I've done a recipe. Like, over a month long, and I wouldn't exactly say that last one counted or anything. Before I get started, though, Jeremy at Discovering Dads threw down the gauntlet, saying that I could actually stand to lose the contest that I wasn't intentionally winning in the first place. So yeah, maybe you want to click that link and show him what we're all made of? Because it's not like I don't know the crazy kids at Lijit personally, or like I didn't already get a t-shirt from them for simply being trampy enough to flash them my boobies, but I really can't stand down a dare.

Moving on...

Teriyaki skewers. Um, yum and stuff? My kids will eat anything so long as it's on a stick. Me, too, actually. Food on a stick is awesome; I don't care who says what. These little beauties are just chicken cut into chucks, soaked in a teriyaki marinade. They're threaded on a skewer (that's been soaking in water for an hour so it won't burn, because I am too cheap forgetful to ever actually buy metal skewers) with cherry tomatoes, pineapple chunks and mushrooms for the big kids. Ideally there'd be some red onion, too, but y'all know what color my hair is. Onions were on the list, scratched off the list when I came home, but not actually in the basket. Ugh.

Marinate

Simmer down, yo. I know, I know. Then I poured a bunch of pineapple juice over them. We love us some pineapple juice around here, and not just because of this. They got sprinkled with salt and pepper and were left to sit for just a little, until they got closer to room temp. And then, after a light olive oil brushing....

Grill

Feel free to tell me you want to have my babies, I can handle it. They grilled over medium high heat until they looked done. I have no clue how long that took, sorry. I whipped up a little couscous and then our judges had their say.

Brain Bucket

Apparently, 1of3 thought they were so good he had to wear his brain bucket to the table to keep his head from exploding.

Meh

And apparently, 2of3 hasn't worn his brain bucket enough. Don't listen to him; they were da bomb, baby. And done, start to finish, in under 30 minutes.

(Not pictured: 3of3. Who had Spaghettios and a temper tantrum. Whatever, hoser.)

Rate the Hate the Entertaining Edition

We are having company tomorrow. The Donor's Canadian BFF is coming for dinner after they play 18 holes. He is, um, a chef.

Fuck.

A chef means I have one of two choices; I order pizza or I up my game. I am anti-pizza (unless it's here with her) and really I have nothing that can come close to what a professional could pull off, so I decided to do the one thing they can't pull off here in Canada, no matter how hard they try...Fish Tacos. I make a mean fish taco. Have you ever been to Wahoo's? Stop what you're doing and go. Now. It's worth the airfare.

I kind of took what they do and guessed how to do it myself. I didn't do half bad, yo. Tomorrow night, I am making the Crazy Fancy Version of what is just about the easiest dinner on the planet, but I'll tell you how to make the Track and then Little League and Then Dinner at 8:30 Oh Shit I've Got Nothing to Cook version:

Cook some rice. I use basmati, almost exclusively, but use whatever you like best. You can sprinkle the rice with furikake after it's steamed if you want, or not, up to you. If not, stir in a little chopped cilantro and some salt and pepper.

Take a few mahi mahi fillets and grill them (Fish and shrimp only take a few minutes on each side, just so you know). Squeeze a bunch of lime juice on them and then sprinkle them with my boyfriend Emeril's Creole Seasoning*. Set them aside to rest.

Meanwhile, warm up some black beans, shred some cabbage and cheese (yes, I still shred my own cheese. Shut up.) Mix up a quick pico de gallo (tomatoes, onions, cilantro, salt & pepper.)

Flake out the fish and put it on a warm CORN tortilla. Top with cheese, pico, a little chopped cilantro and a lime wedge (or 30.) On the plate, scoop rice and black beans.

Serve.

That's it. really. Our rice and beans go straight into the tacos. The Donor drowns them in Tapatio. I squeeze what probably ends up being an entire lime's worth of juice on top. Either way, it's our favorite dinner in under 20 minutes. I had pictures for you, but I lost them. I'll take some of the FancyPants version tomorrow.

Dessert? Hells to the yeahs. My favorite dessert almost ever is Fruit Pizza. I make the whitest trashiest version of it, with sugar cookie dough crust and strawberry yogurt/cool whip sauce, but Fawnahareo blew my little mind with her much classier recipe the other day. Dag, yo. I'm so making that. Click through and bask in the light of the glory of her tasty deliciousness.

*They should really be paying me by this point, don't you think?