|not my idea of a thrilling collection
|not most people's idea of a thrilling collection
And this is how I repaid her: By cooking a series of one-dish casseroles out of The Best of the Best from California, a book that pays homage to the wonders of condensed cream of mushroom soup and Jell-O instant pudding.
Meal #1: chicken and wild rice casserole.
|Could it be any uglier?
But Mary and David loved it, as did their son, as did their grandchildren. My kids sat around crowing about how the tables are now turned! That finally I know what it's like to sit down to a meal I don't like! I wondered if bad taste is genetic and whether I could blame Mary and David for this, but then I reminded myself that they do nice things like take Owen to the Container Store and squelched this line of thought.
Meal #2. Lasagna in a bun.
|To me, they look very tasty.
Meal #3. Chicken lasagna. You take meat off a rotisserie chicken, make a white sauce, layer the meat and sauce with noodles and mozzarella. Bake. Everyone liked it; Mary said it reminded her of chicken a la king. I knew from her description exactly what it tasted like, so didn't taste it.
|Eat your heart out, Norman Rockwell.
By the way, if you're wondering what it's like to cook meals you don't eat, the answer is: not that hard as long as you also make a really good salad that contains enough -- but not too much! -- feta cheese.
Finally, I did make one Best of the Best dessert, a Hershey's Kiss pie for David's birthday. Mary had earlier in the week reminisced about a Cool Whip dessert she loves, chuckling as she "admitted" this. I took that as license to serve a Cool Whip dessert, which is not ordinarily my thing. To produce this pie, you melt the unwrapped contents of a 12-ounce bag Hershey's kisses with 1/4 cup of milk in a saucepan. Then you add an 8 ounce brick of cream cheese and stir until it melts. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 12 ounces of Cool Whip until the mixture is homogeneous. Pour the chocolate cream into an Oreo crust (frozen or homemade) and refrigerate until firm.
I did eat a .75 ounce portion of this and almost fainted it was so good. You don't realize how much flavor is contained in a one centimeter shard of Oreo crust until you go on a diet.
Anyway, I didn't do any holiday cooking this year because we were invited other places. It was very restful .
Mary and David are back in Boston now and we are in Los Angeles. We went to this great restaurant the other night and ordered small plates of pig's ear salad, burrata with tomatillo salsa, veal sweetbreads, poutine with oxtail gravy, hanger steak, pork belly sandwiches, gnocchi with liver sauce, and balsamic barbecued ribs. The kids were game and cheerful and ate more than I'd expected. I tasted everything.
Happy New Year, everyone.