Re: Quantity

1

Does microwaving frozen broccoli count as a "dish"?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:32 PM
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I think that is just personal style to some extent.

My mom tends to cook meals that have several discrete elements, and my dad tends to cook meals in which everything ends up in the same pot cooking together at the end.

Watching them, cooking separate dishes seems like slightly but not dramatically more work. On the other hand, my style is also to cook a single dish.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:34 PM
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Making multiple quick and easy dishes feels way more stressful than one more complicated dish.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:35 PM
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I have a few things I make that are so automatic they don't contribute much to my mental overhead. Sweating/braising greens in garlic and olive oil, making a simple green salad, roasting veggies, cooking pasta and heating a simple sauce, skillet-cooking a steak or chicken breast.

So I will usually do at least one of these even if another dish is more involved.

Roasting a chicken would count if dealing with the smoke didn't materially increase the amount of work required.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:41 PM
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Combining those, make a lot of a single dish every night, rotating savory/veggie/starchy/fruity, so every night has some of several dishes and something new.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:43 PM
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Women's mags

It would be funny if all magazines were named for the group that they're designed to make miserable. Jihadi magazines would be called "Innocent Bystander" mags, and hunting magazines would be "Sweet Doe" mags.

To answer the question in the post, I've mostly decided that multiple dishes per meal is a pain in the ass, so I have a huge salad for dinner every night, and if that's not enough veggies, I'm going to squeeze Michael Pollan's testicles until his penis shoots rockets.

We do try to feed the kids several different things, but those don't require a meal to be prepared. Protein; fresh veggies if we have them, frozen if not; something else. Done.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:50 PM
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I know that women's mag thing you're talking about. "Quick weeknight meals!" and every one is a several-step main plus a separate veggie thing (also with prep, nothing plain). Nooooo.

Also, for the record, recipes in Real Simple - like everything else in Real Simple - suck. Go full-on Martha Stewart Living or don't bother.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:52 PM
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I much prefer to make one dish that is more complex (not a casserole necessarily but that is a good example: one dish that has protein, veggies, starch all together), but if I'm making a more traditional "piece of meat" (e.g. steak or lamb chops on the BBQ) then I'll also make a green veggie, a salad, & (most of the time) a starch. For the record, I'm cooking for two.

Even when the other member of the household does the cooking, I usually suggest/insist on a simple salad (which I make), and if the plan is something that is not veggie heavy some veggies get steamed.

I aim for balance, but I am much less likely to do the meat/veggie/starch that my mother did and more prone to a single dish curry or risotto or ...whatever. And clearly I've given this some thought and am curious about what other people do!


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:54 PM
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7 is true. I've gotten some good Martha Stewart recipes off Pinterest. Also Rachel Ray very closely tracks with my sensibilities.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:56 PM
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I think Benquo's measure of "mental overload" is exactly right, too: recipes that feel like a big production the first time can seem much easier once I get the hang of them, so they can progress from fancy/weekend meal (time to fuss) to "hey why not" weeknight meals.

I think there's something too about figuring out how to make a recipe with my kitchen, my equipment, and my tastes - once I've done it once or twice, there's less thinking and I have a mental map for the steps, rather than them being a long list.


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:57 PM
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I really prefer several dishes for dinner, but it is a bunch more work. We're pathetically disorganized, though -- tonight's dinner is going to be cold roast pork and fried leftover sweet potatoes, with anything else that might be in the fridge (rice from last week's take out? Asparagus from Saturday? A pickle?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:00 PM
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It really depends, for me. I don't have kids and cooking is my hobby, so I'm obviously willing and able to take more time with it. If it's something like a pasta dish where there are vegetables in it, or a risotto or the like, I'm not very likely to make sides. But I will often make multi-dish meals (tonight was Chinese - cold-poached Sichuanese chicken; kohlrabi salad; stir-fried bok choy; steamed rice ) if I have the time & inclination. I also do super simple starch + protein + vegetable combinations often. (Lamb chops + couscous + roasted zucchini/tomatoes; sausages, mash, roasted veg; roasted chicken thighs, leeks, rice pilaf, etc, etc, etc.) Probably not the healthiest, but enjoyable and relatively stress free.

I do think one of the hardest things about learning to cook for me was learning how to time dishes so that they came together at roughly the same time and I wasn't stressing out over multiple things at once. What helped me there was pretty regularly doing all the prep ahead of time, until I learned exactly how long all of these things took me and I could start multitasking.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:03 PM
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Hah, I attempted to do a fake tag after my recounting of my meal and it disappeared. The gods decided it wasn't funny, apparently.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:04 PM
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I tend to make two items, but one of them is usually brown rice or quinoa which is the analog of bread, and 3 if if I'm feeling leisurely and ahead of the curve (increasingly rare). My Mom tended towards 5-6 (rice, dahl, 2-3 mixed vegetable dishes, something fried or some chutney or some salad), my Dad tends towards 3-4 (rice, dahl, 1 mixed vegetable dish, something else) and my aunts in India tend towards 5-6. In India at least they all had at least some part-time help to help them with the vegetable prep; in retrospect I have zero idea how my mother maintained that kind of consistent cooking schedule day-in day-out, almost to the end. Unless she was bedridden, that was normal---the one pot kitchari or pasta or tacos or Bengali chow-mein or pizza days were always precipitated by some *reason*, whether it was special request, weather, some big deadline or house project, a power outage . . .i.e. she was not inflexible, but it was definitely her default. She also probably averaged 2-3 other extras---fancy desserts or savoury snacks--over any given week. Obviously, religious belief was a big motivating factor, but having the same, I simply can't fathom cooking as much, especially not with little kids underfoot.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:04 PM
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By dishes do you guys mean full courses, or "individual" ingredients (ie maybe lamb chops and mint sauce, but not lamb chops with potatoes and veg). Because I'll usually do a full course, but not more than one unless it's something not quite filling enough like an artichoke.

I aim for balance, but I am much less likely to do the meat/veggie/starch that my mother did and more prone to a single dish curry or risotto

How is a curry not meat/veggie/starch?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:05 PM
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One of the most dispiriting things I ever read was Mark Bittman's observation that vegetarian cooking can't really rely on the familiar main + sides template. Too boring. Instead, vegetarian cooks should be thinking in terms of multiple little tapas-like things, which, he's totally right, but my God, who has the time?


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:07 PM
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I feel somewhat oppressed by the better half's belief in two cooked veg and a salad. I'm far more willing than he to count almost anything in another dish as veg 1, like homeopathic levels of parsley. But he is usually the weeknight cook. There are usually some greens about that can be wilted for veg 2. As long as we can get lettuce, salad is covered, done.

I looove tomato season, makes life so easy. Simpler salad than lettuce as faster to wash. Basically adore summer produce as generally so much less time consuming. At some point in march I am sick of preparing brussel sprouts and peeling beets.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:07 PM
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I'm thinking of a 'dish' as anything that's in a separate cooking utensil/serving bowl until each person serves a portion onto their own plate. So a curry is one dish, regardless of the ingredients; lambchops, potatoes, and broccoli are three dishes. A sauce is part of a dish if you wouldn't eat it by itself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:08 PM
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Someone had a good comment here some time at some point once, about how cooking is analogous to computer processing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:08 PM
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16 is true, but I also enjoy vegetarian curries which are definitely a 'main,' frittatas, and other distinct vegetarian main dishes. It's fun to break out multiple small dishes for a weekend meal but there's no reason to let not having enough time to do it dissuade you from doing vegetarian cooking (which I know wasn't what you were saying, Mme. Merle).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:10 PM
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Am gustatorily in love with Saheli's mother.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:10 PM
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I'm thinking of a 'dish' as anything that's in a separate cooking utensil/serving bowl until each person serves a portion onto their own plate.

Get back to work.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:13 PM
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16: I like Bittman's individual recipes and explanations, but I think his meal planning advice is bizarre. Perhaps a lot of people would tire of my approach, but luckily it is optimized for the two people who matter. I tend to make a lot of stews and stirfries that mix in the protein and the vegetables, and then grain or potatoes. So structurally my meals all look the same, and the variety comes from the ingrendients/spices/combinations.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:13 PM
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I would really like to cram the rest of this spinach into this sauce so that I don't have any leftovers, but deep down I know this will be a mistake.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:13 PM
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I've also been trying to do one big main course salad nearly every week. I kind of suck at making salads so this has been a good stretch, plus bonus veggies!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:14 PM
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Dude. My life will be so much easier when the tomatoes and cucumbers come in. Summer cooking is way, way easier. Two more months.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:14 PM
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15 - By meat/veggie/starch I meant 3 dishes, e.g. chicken (with sauce or fried or prepared somehow), green beans (steamed or prepared with a simple sauce), mashed potatoes. Or steak, veggies, potatoes. This seems to me to be the standard for a certain subset of North Americans, at least of a certain era. As compared to a curry (or a casserole, or many other possible variations) where everything get mixed together in one more complex dish.

In other words, I'm thinking exactly along the lines of 18.


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:17 PM
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There's an old NYT Pad Thai recipe that's infamous in our house for being pitched as one of those quick, simplified versions of something normally made at a fancy NYC restaurant by some chef dude who--if the recipe is anything to go by--is capable of radically simplifying things to the point of only requiring maybe five additional people prepping and assembling stuff.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:19 PM
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I prefer winter cooking, because our apartment is hellishly hot and in the summer I don't want to turn the oven on. Three months with everything on the stovetop is a hassle.

(I have also decided that while I'll eat salad, I really like my vegetables cooked. Sitting there chewing on a mouthful of leaves makes me think "Why am I bothering? This isn't staving off starvation at all. I might as well be chewing gum.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:19 PM
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I used to share a flat with a chef. Gourmet Malaysian / Chinese sort of stuff. He 'd come off shift and borrow my wok, and about 15 min later he'd have a little stack of three or four dishes, all delicious. I can cook pretty quick, but the combination of speed, variety, and quantity was pretty amazing.

Personally, I rarely cook more than a few dishes at once, unless just chopping some salad on the side counts for much. Meat/veg + sauce + carb, would be normal, but I'd think of that as one dish, maybe two.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:19 PM
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15 was me.

18, 27: OK, that makes more sense than multiple courses, though I don't really see how more dishes are necessarily more complex to prepare than one. A curry takes a lot more prep than steak and chips and steamed veg.

So to answer the question as clarified, I don't really have a rule. Some of my meals have many dishes and some have one. It depends what the meal is, surely.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:24 PM
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I've never regretted adding spinach to anything.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:25 PM
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I have also decided that while I'll eat salad, I really like my vegetables cooked. Sitting there chewing on a mouthful of leaves makes me think "Why am I bothering? This isn't staving off starvation at all. I might as well be chewing gum."

I basically have this problem too. What I really meant is not that I suck at making salad, but that I suck at making salads I like eating. This is getting better - been doing a lot more composed salads with cooked elements.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:26 PM
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"vegetarian cooking can't really rely on the familiar main + sides template"

But that's nuts.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:27 PM
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32: At a certain point, Jammies will say that there's so much spinach that it's starting to hurt his teeth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:27 PM
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21: yeah, she was a fucking amazing cook, and she loved sending people food. It was definitely one of the bonuses of being friends with me in real life. After she died multiple people wrote to me, "I never met your mother but my God I loved her kachoris/kheer/cookies/paneer/pilaf/samosas/sandesh." I like to think I got some of her style and confidence and creativity in the kitchen, but I lack her sheer endurance and diligence and attention to detail, and her nose.

In absolute terms my grandmother was more skillful, but she was less creative and inventive---she was eager to learn new cuisines, but reluctant to fuse. (People area always confused when I say the preparation of my grandmothers' I loved best were apple turnovers.) One thing my grandmother did that my mother always remarked upon but never took up, despite multiple resolutions to do so, was to often have the beginnings of several days dishes prepared ahead of time or in the freezer. I think that takes a level of focus and organization neither of us had, but it can really pay off, especially if you're prone to having surprise guests.

The thing which is most crazy to me about my mother's cooking habits is that she was so unhousewifey----once things were cut, the whole time she was cooking, she would be listening to an audio lecture or writing or reading in between.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:29 PM
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Cooking: another of the things on my list for my sabbatical that I completely failed to accomplish. Hooray!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:30 PM
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My parents were strict "every meal gets a vegetable and a salad of solely iceberg lettuce" until my grandmother was diagnosed with macular degeneration, and they got the idea that leafy greens may prevent macular degeneration. So since the mid-90s, every meal has included a spinach side plus the iceberg lettuce salad, (but a third vegetable is certainly included sometimes).

I've told this story before but I still get amused. They're coming up on twenty years of nightly spinach. When they go on vacation they mention how nice it is to have a break from spinach.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:31 PM
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Also, oh man, I went to my housekeeper's kid's graduation from UT party last night, and the Mexican food was absolutely outstanding. Good lord.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:32 PM
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was to often have the beginnings of several days dishes prepared ahead of time or in the freezer

I do this in a very basic way - mostly having things that I might buy as convenience food (like pesto) made at home and stored in the freezer - and it's super helpful but also always makes me wish I did more of it. Must think ahead even more! I'm pretty sure it was redfoxtailshrub's blog that clued me into the importance of spending time pre-prepping veg and other meal components one day a week, and that really does help.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:34 PM
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People, like that guy, say vegetarian cooking and mean vegetable-heavy cooking, but I think your average vegetarian mostly eat pasta, bread and rice. And ice cream.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:36 PM
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Ugh, I should be doing that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:36 PM
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42 to 40.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:36 PM
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Iceberg lettuce is basically water, right? Whereas spinach is basically god's gift to humanity: extremely healthy, unobtrusive in taste and texture, and never downloads ebooks illegally except when required to by severe poverty.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:39 PM
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Is making pesto yourself and then immediately freezing it any better than buying pesto from a store? I suppose it's probably cheaper.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:40 PM
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If you can make the time it helps make the weeknight dinners go faster but I don't think you should feel like you *have* to do it by any means. Also helps if you can be relatively alone and listen or watch something nice while doing it -- which I'm not sure is possible with three kids!

Also, heebie, I don't know if you've ever been linked to Dinner: A Love Story but her approach seems like a realistic compromise between wanting to eat nice food and having kids (and not having tons of time). (Of course, I have none, so I may be wrong! The cat merely watches me cook.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:41 PM
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45: I think it is because it is exactly to my liking, but ymmv.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:41 PM
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Dinner tonight is curried noodles (omitting the chicken and doubling it for leftovers). I like cooking, but making multiple dishes just seems so much harder to keep track of (assuming it's not something like frozen veg and baked potato). I strongly prefer all my food to be hot when it goes onto my plate (assuming it's not gazpacho or something), so timing is tricky. I can do simple sides just fine, but making good Indian with four mains and rice is just exhausting. We rarely eat out (maybe 3 lunches a month and one or two dinners, including takeout), but we eat a lot of leftovers. I make new stuff about four times a week, but it's usually pretty simple, since I get home between 7:30 and 8, and we try to eat at 8:30 or 9. I don't see how vegetarian means you need more dishes - that seems like it really increases the degree of PITA.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:45 PM
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36: I have a pickle source via a friend's mother, I give friend homemade curry leaf podi and get the occasional divine pickle from the supplies sent by her mom. The little tiny green mango pickles get rationed very, very carefully. Friend reported a few months ago that mom had been frequenting the bedside of an ailing aunty trying to winkle out of her a particular pickle recipe before she kicked this mortal coil. Apparently mom harbored suspicions dementia was faked as a ruse to guard the recipe.

29, 33: dear older relative in UK always somewhat alarmed by our incessant seeking out of salads when visiting, in her instantly famous words: "I don't know why you eat this, there's no goodness in it!" While serving herself no more than three little rocket leaves.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:45 PM
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I try to make n separate things, where n is the number I'm cooking for. Frequently I'll settle for n - 1, which is a problem if I am dining alone.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:46 PM
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n is the loneliest number that could ever be


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:47 PM
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I think salad is almost always pretty gross. Vegetables sauteed super quickly in olive oil (or I've been using this awesome ghee recently) is so easy and awesome and tastes so good that I really just don't understand salad.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:47 PM
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Is making pesto yourself and then immediately freezing it any better than buying pesto from a store? I suppose it's probably cheaper.

I'm curious about this too. I like making my own pesto, but I never get through it all in the next few days, and by that point I'm sick of pasta and pesto for a while. I don't do a lot of freezing, partly because of the defrost time and partly because of the flavour degradation. But I should probably do more as it would let me be more ambitious with the types of dishes I make.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:47 PM
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Spinach, meh. Especially in some shitty melange with ricotta or some such.

Fine in curries, fine stir-fried with garlic and chilli, or raw in a salad. But most cooked spinach dishes have a mealy nastiness that tastes of bin-water, that would be much better replaced with kale, or savoy cabbage, or greens, or whatever.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:49 PM
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Halford, how do you make green salad? "gross" seems an odd reaction, where I can understand the "i am not a cow amused by chewing cud" reaction.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:51 PM
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I never see the point of lots of veg prep in advance. My main cooking 'chop' is that I have decent knife skills. But I should definitely make and freeze meatballs, and stock reductions, and things.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:52 PM
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If you freeze it in small quantities, it defrosts super fast and then you can use it for lots of things - swirled on top of minestrone; mixed with new potatoes and french beans; with pasta; with couscous (wait, same thing); as a dollop on top of bread for an appetiser; etc.

I will admit to not having the most sensitive of palates, but I don't notice a big difference in taste. (I have heard that it's better to leave out the cheese when you freeze it, and add it in after defrosting, but I'm too lazy for that.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:52 PM
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I never see the point of lots of veg prep in advance.

My veg comes dirty because I order a bougie organic box. If I don't wash it/trim it/etc I end up wasting some because I get lazy. Otherwise, it's mostly those other things that you mention that I really meant (say what you mean, paren), along with things like grinding up the stale bread for bread crumbs and that sort of thing. Waste patrol!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:55 PM
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Every time I want to make an Indian dish I get exhausted just reading the recipes, which seem to assume an abundance of cheap labor. Which is why tonight I'm going to be throwing pre-ground spices, tomatoes, some veggies, and yogurt in a saucepan and calling it makhni. My one virtue as a cook is a high tolerance for my own lousy cooking.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:55 PM
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55 -- I dunno. I don't just eat iceberg lettuce because I'm not some hick chump. Fancy greens from some fancy place with a vinagrette dressing, maybe some chopped tomatoes and nuts in there. That kind of salad is not insanely terrible, maybe gross is too strong, but it still basically sucks compared to cooked vegetables.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:56 PM
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If/when I do things right, I would make some Cuban staples in bulk quantities on Sunday and reheat them throughout the week: black beans, white rice, picadillo, fried plantains, yucca con mojo. I would then usually add a simple salad (greens or avocado based) to every meal. Anything else I eat at home would need to be cook-able on at most two burners and in 20-30 min . That would usually be some version of stir fry, steamed veg. plus Asian noodles, or tacos. Since I work at home, I self-consciously choose to spend a lot of my budget on cheap restaurants in order to get out of the house and avoid making 14 hot meals a week.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:57 PM
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57: Yes! Leave out the cheese, freeze it in an ice cube tray (that you promise never to use again for ice cubes), then once frozen throw the cubes into a ziplock bag and you have faux summer in your freezer. (This is something I do at the very start of fall.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:58 PM
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I am so unhappy with our food situation lately, but don't want to be boring about it here. Having a very picky partner who won't eat with the kids and wants meat/starch/veg of her choice but also for me to do all the cleanup before the food is on the table, three of three kids with food-related special needs, and my own actual preferences for what I'd prefer to be doing with my time and meals is not much fun for me at the moment. I generally do lots of small sides and cycle them through the week so the kids have a lot to choose from in assembling their meals. On a nice night, Lee and I can just have a salad. I need to do more prep-and-freeze on the weekends but I need to do more of everything on the weekends. The girls clear their places but don't load or unload the dishwasher. Maybe I could pass that off to them and be happy, but doing all cooking and cleanup just makes me furious.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:59 PM
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60: Iceberg lettuce served as a wedge used to be very chic.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:59 PM
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Also, I have a high tolerance for repetition so I eat a lot of leftovers. Last month was burrito month.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:59 PM
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62: Do you add cheese after defrosting, or just not bother? (I hate grating Parmesan, so this is one of those things where while I know something is probably technically better, I avoid it.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:59 PM
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Indian food in a can/pouch/jar is our go-to, "fuck it, I don't really want to cook" meal.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:00 PM
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63: wait, Lee doesn't cook but also expects you to clean up to her standards? Fuck that noise.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:03 PM
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66: Yeah, I throw on the cheese after. It probably doesn't matter much.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:04 PM
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Iceberg is all about texture, right? Sort of fails on any flavor metric. Can be good with a creamy dressing and a cold beer, on a very hot day. I think the wedge thing works because it capitalizes on brutalist modernism possibilities, Serra salad.

Simplifying green salad can make it better (and easier). Also eating it with a nice piece of cheese.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:05 PM
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What 68 says, although it's not crazily unlike that chez ttaM, as I do all the cooking, but also get moaned at for making too much (or the wrong kind) of mess.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:06 PM
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69: You have inspired me; I shall do a taste test this summer!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:07 PM
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Huh, I much prefer raw veggies to cooked. My dinner salad is spinach, kale, apple, carrot, cauliflower, raisins, nuts, (sometimes) cheese, olive oil, and salt. I admit even I'm a little surprised that this has become my comfort food, but it has. Mostly, people get used to stuff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:10 PM
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67: My sister did that over Easter, because extra lamb. I never tried it before and it was very good.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:12 PM
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also for me to do all the cleanup before the food is on the table

What?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:12 PM
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This thread is making me feel insecure about my own cooking, which feels wrong since I'm a competent cook. I just have a pretty limited set of basic meals and improvise variations on those, so I'm reading the thread and keep thinking, "that sounds way more ambitious than what I do."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:12 PM
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73: No acid (vinegar, lemon juice) in the dressing?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:12 PM
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Also, the noise should indeed be fucked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:13 PM
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68 is my response too, but it doesn't do any good. She teaches two nights a week and is gone at dinner time at least one other. She'll sometimes grill on the weekend, but I generally have to make all the sides. And I seriously think it could be justifiable homicide because she refuses to learn how to run the dishwasher. It's not as if it's some inborn skill I have, but as long as she has that excuse she'll never do it and there's basically nothing I can do that keeps life livable for me and pressures her to do more. So while I was cleaning the potato out of Selah's hair, Mara made some concoction out of milk and juice that she both spilled on the ground (she says, though I can't see where) and apparently put in the freezer as an experiment even though she knows I've banned all food-related experiments. Nia still needs to eat because she's with her therapist and so I'll need to heat it all up again and she'll be angry about not getting first dibs, and then Lee will come home after they're in bed and complain if I haven't gotten everything cleaned to her standards. This is not the part of parenting where I excel, and so it's where I get the most bitter.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:14 PM
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77 was me. I have strong opinions about dressing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:15 PM
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refuses to learn how to run the dishwasher

No, she refuses to run the dishwasher. Which is ridiculous.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:16 PM
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I am fairly sure that if/when I have kids, my house will be a sty. Dirt is good for kids, right?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:17 PM
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75: Because it's annoying if you clear your plate and there are still pots on the stove, apparently. If they're soaking before going in the dishwasher, that's fine, but all dishes should be put in the dishwasher or else put away whenever they're not in active use, which would be fine if I were not the missing subject of the passive verbs. See, I shouldn't have mentioned this because I get so sad and upset and she is completely resistant to any change. She will sometimes clear the table and is good about wiping down the baby's high chair at night, but thinks that having to touch plates etc. other people have touched is gross. And it is, but it needs to be done.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:17 PM
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No acid (vinegar, lemon juice) in the dressing?

I can't really do acid, due to being a very sensitive flower gastritis.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:18 PM
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Wow blows my mind someone would complain as reported by ttaM and Thorn. Can't think of any other reaction than that is just wrong.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:18 PM
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OK, no dishwasher is straight up bullshit. You can tell her this: either she does the dishes and runs the dishwasher, or you establish separate accounts, she puts whatever she earns from teaching into one account, and pays for a maid from that account. Done and done.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:19 PM
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The women's mags' dinners are an instance of a larger problem confronting someone who is learning to cook, viz., there's a difference between being able to follow a recipe and being able to figure out what to cook for dinner on the fly.

We do a lot of cooking (maybe eat out once or twice a month) and we freeze a lot of extras. Chilis, lasagna, spaghetti sauce, soups, mostly, but sometimes pierogi or ravioli, too. We started doing this in anticipation of the Calabat's birth and the need to have lots of meals ready to go, and then we realized it was really great to keep doing that.

But now it's grilling season so dinner is usually some sort of meat on the grill, plus sides.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:19 PM
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76: You read mine, right? Competent, not fancy, better (to me) than what I grew up with.
65 is very much me. When the boyfriend's out of town, I usually make one thing and eat it for lunch and dinner (or every dinner if I've got granola and yogurt for lunch). In grad school, I used to get a jar of pasta sauce and a box of noodles, and it lasted the week.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:20 PM
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Also, I am avoiding direct comment, Thorn, because all I have are angry words. I have a meticulous partner, so I understand a bit of the pressure, but in practice it just means he does the cleaning, not me, and I just do not understand being unwilling to do something yourself but trying to dictate the level to which it is done.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:20 PM
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having to touch plates etc. other people have touched is gross

Gloves!

Lee sounds so intolerable that I'm now wondering in what secret way you're horrible that makes the relationship sustainable. Bedwetter? You can tell us.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:21 PM
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Or, thinking positively, exquisite and obscure mutually compatible sexual practices.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:23 PM
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I used to have a rookie who liked to cook elaborate meals, never cleaned as she went (like, at all) and expected me to do the clean up because we had the general rule of those who don't cook, clean. I definitely got pissed about the level of cleaning required, because it was totally asymmetrical.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:24 PM
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Just to pile on, well, not just to pile on, but I would honestly shove her head first in the dishwasher and then run the longest possible program until she got your point.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:25 PM
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67 Indian food in a can/pouch/jar is our go-to, "fuck it, I don't really want to cook" meal.

I noticed that my count of "fuck it, I don't really want to cook" days increased dramatically once I moved to an apartment with lots of different takeout places within a few blocks.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:25 PM
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Roomie! Damn auto correct.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:25 PM
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Or, thinking positively

Good point. There's a half-full glass here somewhere.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:27 PM
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but thinks that having to touch plates etc. other people have touched is gross. And it is,

What? No it isn't.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:28 PM
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95: I just spent 3 minutes wondering if the word had a different meaning in British English.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:28 PM
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wondering if the word had a different meaning

Whereas I assumed he had been in a cooking program with a newb. Charitable reading R Us.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:29 PM
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he

Sexist! With a bad memory!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:30 PM
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Dude, I don't know who about three-quarters of the people here are.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:32 PM
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Thought firefighters. Feared bloodshed, in light of axes...


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:32 PM
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I like the idea of a cooking show pairing a young rookie cop with a hardened veteran of the forces. See them whip up a soufflé while fighting crime!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:32 PM
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Yes. I'm on team buy-Lee-gloves-and-write-out-dishwasher-instructions and let her rise to the occasion.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:32 PM
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GODDAMN ROOKIES AND THEIR ELABORATE MEALS AND NOT CLEANING UP. JUST BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T TEACH YOU TO CARRY SOME GODDAMN WETNAPS AT THE ACADEMY DOESN'T MEAN YOU WON'T WANT ONE WHEN YOU'RE ON THE STREETS WITH CHEWING ON A CASSOULET AND SOME KNUCKLEHEAD STABS AT YOU WITH A BOWIE KNIFE.


Posted by: OPINIONATED VETERAN OF THE FORCE | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:33 PM
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100: I kinda like the idea of sounding vaguely gender neutral. (On the internet, no one can hear your up talking.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:34 PM
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Re: 85

To be fair, my wife does more of the general cleaning and tidying than I do. So I'm not horribly put upon or anything. I expect she has a good case to complain about me in other areas. But she does have unrealistic standards about how much mess cooking involves or how easy/quick it might be to clean up if one is also doing other things. I'm just venting because we are both sick with the cold and I'm getting grumbled at more than usual.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:36 PM
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"If I ever see you use room temperature butter in a scone again, I'm going to have these homeboys ride train on your girl, you understand?"

"What's a train?"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:37 PM
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My impression is that Thorn and Lee are consistently working through a difficult relationship, and that Thorn understands the problems full well. But Lee is mostly a rock and if we pressure Thorn, we're the hard place. So I usually figure it doesn't help to pressure Thorn to change Lee, unless maybe it is encouraging for her to hear that we don't agree with Lee's norms.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:38 PM
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Oh, sure. It's important to be able to vent without feeling like you're then obligated to fix it and report back. But lee is pretty maddening.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:41 PM
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Wait, Thorn, has your legal parenting status changed enough that you can reconsider my solution of "additional grown-up"? Maybe one that would trade room for some clean up? 'Cause don't you have a 17 room house for neglible mortgage? I know that was barred by your fostering agreements before.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:41 PM
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My mother had a very small rotation of meals and sides, even as a SAHM. It got worse when she started a part time position as a grade school librarian. She planned meals from a template every week, including breakfast. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were cold cereal; Tuesday and Thursday were usually frozen rolls or muffins with hard boiled eggs and either bacon or sausage. Saturday was pancakes (rarely waffles) with Log Cabin syrup, and Sunday was Dad's turn (normally doughnuts, muffins from a box, or coffee cake, scrambled eggs, and sausage or bacon (or both). For dinner, her go-to was these frozen brined boneless skinless chicken breasts (oh god so salty) cooked by heating in a nonstick skillet, white rice (with a chicken bullion cube in the water), and frozen corn. We had that twice a week. Shiver.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:46 PM
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Is this the thread to talk about my new dream of becoming a public Chipotlectual?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:51 PM
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I would like to figure out a system for making large, tasty salads for dinner with enough variety that I could eat them a few times per week. Those overpriced chopped salad places make it look so easy.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:53 PM
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112: Wow. My mother doesn't like cooking and was raised mostly by someone who didn't know how to cook, and we ate better than that. Come to think of it, her wholegrain earthmother hippieism was partly a *response* to that.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:53 PM
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I was so sure 113 was going to be a link to a MY article.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:56 PM
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Oh, I don't care if people pressure me and I certainly brought that on myself. I just am only going to do a certain amount on any front. Things were pretty completely intolerable for a lot of the fall and winter and have gotten good in that she's nice to Nia and spends more time with the children and is home at least half the nights she's not teaching, sometimes even more than that. She's becoming a pleasant person again and it an be nice to talk to her if the two of us get a chance to hang out. I'm feeling much more positive toward her than I have in a long time, whichI think is what's bringing out all of the seething resentment and sadness I have. Meanwhile, she feels like nothing she does is ever good enough for me and so she doesn't know why she should try if I'm not going to compliment her and am just going to bring up things like dishes.

We do have cleaners who come every two weeks, which is lovely. Also a couples counselor, same price. We could probably fight over chores there, but the problem is that Lee is so hung up on the idea that I'm a hoarder and disgusting slob that it doesn't matter that I do 80% or more of the cleaning and all of jobs like this, because people think I'm just making excuses or something to cover my awfulness. Lee thinks it's very easy to clean as you go even though she only ever cooks one thing at a time and even then I do most of the prep/marinating and she does in fact leave things outside, where invariably the dog licks them, which is grosser to have to clean than people's food. But her perception is what drives all of this and she has no interest in changing.

I don't know what I'm so horrible at other than relationships. I think I'm a pretty good catch, but at the moment it's not worth looking into other options and wouldn't be good for the girls. So I suck it up and enjoy all I can.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:57 PM
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I'd suggest just not doing the dishes and letting them pile up and come alive, but that's probably not an option when you have kids. On the other hand not cooking specifically for her seems like an idea. Back when I lived with a gf I tended to do most of the cooking (i.e. either I did it alone or she helped out some) and we switched off on cleaning. I didn't think it was particularly unreasonable since I cared more about home cooked dinners than she did. And to tie the OP in, I used a hell of a lot more veggies back then. These days they're optional.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:05 PM
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What model dishwasher do you have? That way I can find the manual online and make a PowerPoint presentation outlining the basic operational details that you can give to Lee.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:17 PM
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My go-to meal to cook is a piece of meat, either grilled or braised if I'm feeling crazy. Blume often has to remind me that this doesn't really count as a full dinner.

It probably would be better if I was kidding.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:18 PM
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119: You hook up the hose part to the faucet with the same motion she uses when unooking it, turn on the water, pour detergent in both clearly marked spaces, close the lid on the one with a lid, lock the door that she's able to unlock, and then from there the baby is perfectly capable of turning the nob so it runs and so she wouldn't even have to do that part. I really don't understand what the problem is and have explained this and that it's a problem for me, but she says she just doesn't want to do it and doesn't plan to and that's the end of the discussion.

I don't cook separately for her unless I want to reward her for something, but if there's "nothing to eat" (meaning veggies and stuff, mostly, in the fridge) she'll be starving and grumpy and then go out for an hour or two or maybe all evening to get herself food as compensation, which leaves me without help here. We have gone over the food stuff in therapy, but she never sticks to any of the recommendations.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:23 PM
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I much prefer raw veggies to cooked. My dinner salad is spinach

My favorite [nutrition blocker] is the oxalic acid in raw spinach, a vegetable exalted for its high content of calcium and iron. Oxalic acid, it seems, forms an insoluble complex with calcium and iron--not only the calcium and iron in the spinach itself but other sources of them as well--and renders uncooked spinach a non-nutritious green.

From Jeffrey Steingarten's "Salad the Silent Killer". I have no idea whether this is true.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:27 PM
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You have my sympathies, Thorn. Your situation feels all to familiar to me (In retrospect I was probably almost as much of a "Lee" in mine as I was a "Thorn"). I do hope things get better.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:28 PM
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||
At the library sale I got a book that I was sure was a parody of detective novels, it's written in such a ridiculous way. But looking at the author's other titles ("Satan's Mistress", "Madame Spy", "Poisoned Sleep", "The Mystery of the Stolen Hats", "Blackshirt the Audacious", "The Sword of Monsieur Blackshirt", "The Racing Yacht Mystery"), not so much.

Having to switch to ironic enjoyment mode...
|>


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:37 PM
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This no-sugar thing is starting to bum me out. I'm craving desserts but even tomatoes were a problem tonight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:49 PM
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To the OP: I tend to make a main dish and a vegetable side. If the main dish is just meat (rather than a casserole, or similar), I'll often do a separate starch too.

Recent evenings include:
Roast chicken w/ garlic + lentils
Chicken & rice + salad
Steak + green beans + kraft mac n' cheese

Tonight will probably be a one dish meal: a beef pot pie. Which I'd better start...

I should do more vegetables, but rarely get to them; coordinating everything to finish at once is a skill that mostly eludes me. Largely because I don't do the knife work in advance.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:51 PM
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she just doesn't want to do it and doesn't plan to

Augh!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:54 PM
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114: We do this occasionally. The trick is to have stuff to use that keeps well and doesn't require me to chop six separate things before I eat. I buy a few kinds of greens/lettuce (maybe spinach, arugula and romaine), then some fresh stuff, very little of which requires chopping (grape tomatoes, shredded carrot, etc), then a few things that need chopping (bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, apple, strawberry), then a protein containing thing or two (chickpeas, black beans, cheese, chicken), then crunchy or dried stuff (cranberry, raisin, sunflower seed, croutons, nuts), and make or buy a dressing or two, one for sweetish combinations (like poppyseed), one for savory (oil and vinegar). It works pretty well as long as you're careful not to overload on fresh stuff that will only keep for a couple days and have lots of stuff to put in that's not just lettuce.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:55 PM
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Now I want a pot pie.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:57 PM
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124: Used copies of "The Mystery of the Stolen Hats" are going for $60 on Amazon. Maybe buy more.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 5:59 PM
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If I want a salad, I go to the bar. I can get one with a protein (chicken or "steak"), another protein (egg), another protein (cheese), some vegetables (french fries), and some other vegetables that aren't starchy. It's like $6.50 or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:04 PM
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16: One of the most dispiriting things I ever read was Mark Bittman's observation that vegetarian cooking can't really rely on the familiar main + sides template. Too boring. Instead, vegetarian cooks should be thinking in terms of multiple little tapas-like things, which, he's totally right, but my God, who has the time?

It's certainly true that the main + sides template is emphasized in meat-based menu planning, but it strikes me as hogwash to suppose that the principle way to cook vegetarian is the tapas approach (which is lovely, but not enough time, right).

I'm a mostly-vegetarian, and usually a one-dish cook with an eye always on how the planned for leftovers will be used. So lentil chili (incorporating carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, maybe celery, maybe corn, and there's your veggie component right there) will be used in subsequent days for lentil burritos (to include lettuce or kale or spinach in the wrap as well, more veg), and again for making pita pizzas with spicy lentils spread on, plus more veggies sprinkled on.

The leftovers routine maybe gets a little boring, but like ydnew upthread, I don't get home until 7:30 and am unlikely to eat until 9, so there's big batch cooking 3 times per week, and everything in between is a variation thereon. In the best of worlds, some of the big batches have been frozen, so at any given time there are 2-3 base options to be supplemented by a preparation of something fresh.

Major applause for the discussion upthread about freezing pesto. Leave out the cheese and maybe also the nuts: you can make a basil/garlic/olive oil base pesto that's extremely versatile and useable almost straight out of the freezer.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:04 PM
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OT: McMillan got three months, plus 5 years probation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:11 PM
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Burn shit down!!!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:12 PM
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I already turned off the propane to the grill.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:13 PM
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I'm worried it's going to be gestational diabetes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:18 PM
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Since our first meals together my wife and I have shared the work as: she cooks, very well and somehow better all the time, after 30 years with me, and I clean up. The kids have learned how to cleanup well, and my son to cook well. Just now I have worked a second job when I get home, so my daughter cleans up.

My wife cooks multiple dishes nearly every night.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:19 PM
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No. I think it's a CharMaster or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:22 PM
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Wait. Charmander is a Pokemon. I don't know what the grill is called, but I don't think it was anything pregnancy related.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:24 PM
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Go double-check. I'll wait.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:26 PM
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It's dark and the porch light doesn't work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:31 PM
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136: that's what I thought of, would be a complete drag. Have they tested you yet?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:31 PM
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Is that the test where you have to drink something sugary, go wait at your grill for an hour, and then come back and be tested?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:32 PM
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That stuff they make you drink for the test is completely sick making.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:33 PM
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I drink Yuengling, even when I have other choices. I don't understand the problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:35 PM
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I mean, I understand the problem with the restricted diet for the length of the pregnancy. That doesn't sound good at all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:37 PM
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I had gestational diabetes. It sucked. I responded by becoming loonily orthorexic, running (later walking) on the treadmill constantly, and creating insane Excel charts to present to my doctor. As soon as I got home from the hospital, I drank a big old glass of Cayron and ate a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips. It was the best thing ever.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:46 PM
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I did the quick test, the fifty minute one, about a month ago. They don't do the long test I think until 24 weeks or so.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning, and I'm pretty sure if I mention this, they'll spring the four hour test on me. Which I guess is fine, but not much fun.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:49 PM
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148: Incidentally, sugar didn't make me feel sick. I am betting you don't have it! xo


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:51 PM
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148: You should probably mention it anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:53 PM
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114, 128: Yes, stocking basic ingredients is central. Nuts, fruits, oils and vinegars, cheeses that keep for a while, beans, onions and such. Add on the fresh stuff, the greens and fresh veggies and any meat you might want to add, and it's workable.

That is, at any given time, I tend to have on hand a variety of nuts, probably raisins and dried cranberries, parmesan cheese, probably feta, definitely red onion. You can toss together a salad right there with the addition of fresh greens. Toss the greens very lightly with a vinaigrette, sprinkle that with parmesan, then toss with chopped walnuts or pecans, and that's your base: the leaves are coated. Then add on fresh veggies, red peppers or whatever, and if you want it really robust, add chicken or beans in a composed sort of way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:54 PM
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Did you pass the first screen?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:54 PM
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148: Hope it's not, but a permanent intolerance doesn't sound like fun either.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:54 PM
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Yep, passed the first screen.

My mom does have a permanent intolerance, which I can't remember if I mentioned recently enough for 153 to be responding to.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:57 PM
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creating insane Excel charts to present to my doctor

Jesus Christ, this is the part of blood sugar testing I hate so much. Trying to figure out when to test after eating to actually catch the high is such a pain in the ass my doctor actually recommended I skip it entirely.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:58 PM
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Hope you're feeling better soon, but it's a good sign that you passed the first screen. (I hated that test so much.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 6:59 PM
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155: You've been pregnant?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 7:00 PM
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There's also salade nicoise, which has infinite variation.

And one of my favorites: panzanella. One example. I tend to refer to this as "chunky salad". Chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions and any other generally 1-inch-square thing you want (broccoli? carrots?), in an herbed vinaigrette, and throw some croutons on there toward the end. Maybe some cheese cubes if you want. Crunchalicious.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 7:08 PM
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154 (not 157): Yes, today, although I can't find it to link to.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 7:11 PM
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but thinks that having to touch plates etc. other people have touched is gross. And it is

Surely I can't be the only one here who had a summer job as a busboy back in the day.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 7:49 PM
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I just tried Yootling with my girlfriend (aka Cool Bean) for the first time and it seems to have worked out.

I had promised to unload the dish drainer and was slacking because I hate doing that. Now I'm just going to pay her to do it at the price she named, $6 each time (because it's below the price I named, $7.50), and we're both happy with the outcome.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:01 PM
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161: Financial autonomy sounds like a huge pain in the ass but hey, whatever works. We always had joint accounts when we started out because it's not like there was "extra" money at all so why bother and even though these days we're close to parity in terms of salary, pension, etc. we can't be bothered to give a shit enough to separate the finances.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:09 PM
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Tonight I did the dishes, soaked whatever's left so I can run another load in the morning, made chicken stock, cleaned the kitchen and dining room and tidied the living room, and did one laundry load but didn't put any meaningful amount of laundry away because I still can't manage to put the girls' clothes away while they're awake and in my way. I also made dinner and dealt with the two-hour therapist visit and managed three baths and got everyone to bed, with a Rutabaga Story for those old enough to appreciate one! Lee didn't have any complaints about the cleaning and thanked me for starting to make her a salad, though she thought I was being stingy with the olives and stepped in to finish it herself. So that part was good. But this is why I don't work out. Obviously I have enough time to get on here and bitch about things and have a few glasses of wine, but I'm neither working myself to the bone nor sitting around goofing off all the time. I'm up way too late, but I had to write a description of our garden for the tour guide and unfortunately the best time of day is when everyone's in bed.

And we do keep separate finances and at this point all three girls' stipends from the state get directly deposited to her and then I have to wait until she's ready to give me whatever portion of the money I'm able to get, and since I pay for the counseling and she pays for the cleaners and we periodically buy each other drinks, we're both doing what we can financially for the common good. I think I would pay a whole lot more not to have to pay someone to empty the dish drainer than I'd pay someone to empty the dish drainer. But that's a stupid job anyway and it's just as easy to just keep the colander there until I need it again anyhow, and ditto all the little medicine spoons the girls require. etc. Maybe this is how I'm horrible?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:22 PM
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I don't think I mentioned at the time how much I adored the story of the garden tour guide trying to stand in front of the racist jockey statue. Imagining that woman's chagrin, the absurd pathos.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:33 PM
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I think I would pay a whole lot more not to have to pay someone to empty the dish drainer than I'd pay someone to empty the dish drainer.

I feel like I ought to be able to understand this, but I can't.

Cool Bean hates when the dish drainer isn't emptied because it makes it harder to wash more things.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 10:36 PM
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By meat/veggie/starch I meant 3 dishes, e.g. chicken (with sauce or fried or prepared somehow), green beans (steamed or prepared with a simple sauce), mashed potatoes. Or steak, veggies, potatoes. This seems to me to be the standard for a certain subset of North Americans, at least of a certain era. As compared to a curry (or a casserole, or many other possible variations) where everything get mixed together in one more complex dish.

This is where you discover that the complexity metric of cooking isn't "how many ingredients", it's "how many things need to be on the stove at the same time" multiplied by the difference in cooking times between the fastest and slowest items.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-20-14 2:38 AM
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Cool Bean hates when the dish drainer isn't emptied because it makes it harder to wash more things.

Amen! Stacking up newly washed things over dry or nearly dry things drives me crazy.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-20-14 4:43 AM
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Cool Bean hates when the dish drainer isn't emptied because it makes it harder to wash more things.

Amen! Stacking up newly washed things over dry or nearly dry things drives me crazy.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-20-14 4:43 AM
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166 is exactly right. Also need to factor in the amount of attention needed for each thing. Having one pot that needs exact timing and one that needs constant stirring is a lot more complicated than one of those and something you can throw in the oven for 90 minutes and forget about.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-20-14 4:59 AM
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i do all the cooking. i typically make a meat, a veg and a starch. it's what i like, so that's what i make. since wifey is anti-starch these days, i've often do starch substitutes like sketti squash or cauliflower fritters - something beige that likes butter but which isn't pasta or taters.

the exceptions are stews and soups, where i can tell myself it's OK because everything's in the same pot.

the only time things get overwhelming is when one dish has extremely tight timing (scallops) or is unpredictable (chicken thigh on a grill turns to carbon in 30 seconds, so you have to be there when the fat starts to burn).


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 10:41 AM
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166.last: So, cooking is like a compiler doing registry allocation? Cool, we can reduce that to an NP hard problem.

168: Same here. Many times I've dived across the kitchen shouting "Noooo!" as my wife puts a wet pot over the dry dishes in the dish drainer, always too late. We need to better establish our kitchen boundaries.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 10:47 AM
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...something beige that likes butter but which isn't pasta or taters

I think I meet those specifications.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 10:49 AM
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168, 171: God yes.

Did I read 161 correctly that Benquo is now paying Cool Bean $6 per dish drainer unloading? Do you have any idea what chaos would ensue in my household if I suggested such a thing? It would be all "But I put out the recycling. Also I empty the compost bowl into the compost pile down back. Also I trim the bushes in the front."

And I'd be like, "Yes, and thanks. Also, I put the beans on to soak, and I brush the cat who is otherwise shedding all over, and I water the plants and do most of the dishes because I can't stand how you let them go."

Danger territory, this kind of exchange!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 11:11 AM
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I empty the dish drainer relentlessly, because I believe the dish drainer to be the place where work stops and backs up. Empty dish drainer? There's a good chance someone will come by and do the dishes. Full dish drainer? Nothing will get done. I want that thing empty all the time.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 11:16 AM
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There's a good chance someone will come by and do the dishes.

And when they finish, they leave a piece of cured meat on the floor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 11:20 AM
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We still have the naked fairy magnet on the fridge.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 11:21 AM
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I wonder what my life would be like if I could remember useful stuff that well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 11:41 AM
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I empty the dish drainer relentlessly, because I believe the dish drainer to be the place where work stops and backs up.

Indeed. My approach now is just to empty it as soon as I'm around to see that the dishes are dry.

Should I make the mistake of asking that wet dishes not be put on top of dry, the result will be that no dishes are done. Because oh, there are dry dishes there. Oh well, can't do dishes.

I'm told that my housemate who thinks along those lines is being passive aggressive, but I'm damned if I can find a way to end it, other than to just empty the drainer rack myself at every available opportunity.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-21-14 11:44 AM
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