Last night I had the rare pleasure of spending an evening by myself. With my family off doing their own activities, I was left home to wonder what to do. Should I relax and catch up on some television? Should I call some friends and go out on the town? I knew full well that I had an increasing laundry list of household chores to accomplish and also a list of items to do for Taste to Cook (among other things) but, I wanted so badly to enjoy some much needed “me” time. So I decided to comprise with myself – eat dinner and get to work on the site. Laundry would have to wait at least one more day.
On my way home from my 9 to 5’er, my mind started to give me a lecture. “Do you really feel like cooking tonight during what could be one of your best “me” moments ever? Wouldn’t you rather work on the recipes for the show and the book or work on the site facelift? Even better, wouldn’t you rather have a night of loafing on the couch in front of the television? I decided immediately that there was no way that I would spend the rest of the night arguing with myself and doing nothing but sitting on the couch, flipping the boob tube and cramming buttered popcorn into my mouth. Knowing that we had eaten through all of the leftovers in the refrigerator, I decided before going home (instead of getting take out) that I would make a quick run to my local grocery store for something quick and tasty.
While in the store, that’s when IT hit me – the GUILT of what I was about to do. I walked over to the freezer and scanned over the many pre-packaged meals (not TV dinners) like, “pasta mixed in some sort of generic sauce with seafood”, or “rice with assorted vegetables”, and the more I stood in front of that freezer the guiltier I felt. “You know that’s not healthy”, said the guilt. “You know that’s filled with a ridiculous amount of sodium…there is absolutely nothing fresh or healthy about that”. I closed my eyes, reached into the freezer and grabbed the last bag I saw.
When home, I realized I had grabbed a popular brand (starts with a ‘B’) of heat and serve “pasta with tomatoes, shrimp, and asparagus in a garlic white wine sauce”. It actually sounded good to me and looked edible when I poured it into the pan. Following the cooking instructions on the bag, my meal was prepared in exactly 9 minutes. I poured a glass of good wine and sat down to enjoy what I thought would be one of the best working nights ever. I mixed the food around in the bowl; so excited about my heat and serve pasta, I heaved a molten forkful into my mouth. As every taste bud on my tongue became singed and numb from the heat, I tried desperately to swallow the food and realized that it wasn’t going to go down easily. I had to chug my glass of wine to get the food to move down my throat. In fact, the meal tasted like cotton – sautéed, garlic infused cotton! I would have made a better meal if I had sautéed my own shirt in white wine, garlic and onions. I tossed the meal in the garbage, poured another glass of wine, and served myself a nice heaping bowl of vanilla ice cream and crushed brownies.
What did I learn? There is no substitute for a fresh home cooked meal. A good wine will make everything taste better and you can never go wrong with dessert. Most importantly no matter what “they” say (who the heck is “they”?) NEVER be ashamed of making pre-packaged food – even if it turns out to taste like cotton. Just try not to make a habit out of it.
What will I be doing tonight? Well, of course it will be another working night. I am also proud to say that I will be enjoying another glorious night alone. Can’t wait to see what the evening will bring.