Killing me kindly with culinary curiosity
“You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you?” husband-head asked suspiciously eyeballing the large plate of Alfredo pasta I had set down before him.
I laughed and pushed over a basket of homemade cheesy garlic bread and passed him the Caesar salad.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I scolded. “Eat up.”
“That’s about ALL I’ve been doing lately,” husband-head retorted. “You’ve turned into this raving Martha Stewart-like maniac.”
Well, sort of.
It started a few weeks ago when husband-head returned with an armload of cookbooks he’d purchased during his yard sale travels.
I love cookbooks. I can spend hours poring through recipes and looking at the pictures. The only trouble is that then I want to MAKE all the recipes I read.
One cookbook in particular caught my eye. It was a book containing a bunch of knockoff recipes that explained how to make the same foods offered by the big chain restaurants. I made chicken wings, nachos, potato skins, monte cristo sandwiches, ribs, bloomin’ onions, lasagna roll-ups, spicy ribs, hashbrown quiche, pizza sticks and cheese fries.
“Uncle!” husband-head cried out, holding his stomach as I put my latest “experiment” in front of him. “I can’t eat anymore! I’m gonna weigh 400 pounds by the time you’re finished!”
The other little problem my cooking frenzy poses is the fact that I need all the ingredients to make my concoctions.
Recently, husband-head made a rare appearance accompanying me on one of my little shopping excursions to the grocery store.
“Ummm, do you mind telling me why every friggin’ employee in this store knows your name?” he asked in amazement. “Is this, like, your version of the ‘Cheers’ bar?”
“Hey, it could be worse,” I said nonchalantly as I pushed my buggy down the very familiar aisles. “I could be like Winona Ryder and shoplifting everything in sight. At least I PAY for my items …”
On this particular trip I was in “Italian” mode, after having watched a TV program on the food channel demonstrating a variety of Italian dishes.
“FIVE DOLLARS for a little tiny round of cheese?” husband-head protested. “That’s CRAZY! You can get a whole POUND of that government cheese stuff for less than that!”
“It’s fresh mozzarella,” I informed him. “And it’s essential for my Caprese salad.”
Then I threw in a can of marinated artichokes into the cart.
“Gross!” husband-head said, wrinkling his nose in disdain. “Why are you getting that? Artichokes are like eating somebody’s toenail!”
And a lot more expensive …
While I mulled over a variety of pastas, husband-head bolted to another aisle and plunked a box of Hamburger Helper in our basket.
“Now THAT’S good food,” he said with satisfaction. “And you can eat it right out of the same pan you make it in.”
Not only do I have a cooking fetish, I also have a thing for cool cookware. When I came home one day with a set of fun ice cream dishes, I HAD to use them right away.
“Would you like a milkshake?” I offered husband-head. “And when you’re done, I’ll make you a hot fudge sundae …”
Husband-head turned a pretty shade of pea green.
“What’re you up to now, Betty?” he asked a few days later as he came up behind me in the kitchen.
“I’m making you a funny face pizza,” I said as I placed two pepperoni slices for eyes on top of the sauce and cheese covered crust. Then I made a mushroom nose, a couple of zucchini ears and a smile with a pepper slice. I finished it off with cooked spaghetti for hair around the top.
“Funny face, I love you! … Funny face, I need you!” husband-head sang to the old 1970s Donna Fargo tune, when I took the pizza out of the oven and put it in front of him. Then he got serious for a moment.
“You know, I appreciate your culinary endeavors,” he said earnestly. “But really, you’re going to kill me if you keep it up.”
Shut up and eat your hot fudge brownie cake …
Heidi Rice is a Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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