There won’t be a photograph of the meal in this story. As part of a study on smartphone use and creativity, yesterday’s challenge was to take no photographs. Alas.
She started making a pot of grits; as they sat on low heat, she headed upstairs to change out of work clothes, calling over her shoulder, “Can we watch another Sherlock with dinner?” This seemed like a fine idea to me. The evening was set.
I sweated some onion, celery, and carrot in a little butter, then removed the vegetables, added a little oil and flour to the pan and made a brown roux. Meanwhile, I pulled the tails off some shrimp I’d already steamed, and thawed some duck stock we’d had in the freezer–
Seriously. Leftover shrimp and frozen homemade duck stock. We’re not ridiculous yuppie-snob foodies. We buy good ingredients when they’re at a good price, and use every bit of them.
–and, in another pan, sautéed some mushrooms and grape tomatoes.
When the roux was a hearty-looking medium brown, I sprinkled in a little cajun seasoning, cranked the heat, added a ladleful of stock, and whisked. The miracle of roux turning stock into a smooth gravy never ceases to amaze me. I added more stock; the sauce came apart and then smoothed again almost instantly. A third ladleful would be plenty. A dab of dijon mustard, a little salt and pepper, and the vegetables joined the sauce; then, finally, the shrimp, which needed only a moment to warm. (If the shrimp had been raw they’d have needed only a couple minutes of cooking time.)
A warm bowl, a little pile of creamy grits, a scoop of shrimp and gravy, perhaps a sprinkling of sharp cheese on top; mushrooms and tomatoes alongside. It was kind of perfect, I thought.
Sadly, she disagreed. Maybe the it was the stock; duck isn’t her favorite. Maybe the seasoning was off. Maybe she just wasn’t in as much of a shrimp-and-grits mood as she’d thought. Or maybe she was too tense to enjoy dinner.
We don’t watch a lot of TV or movies, but the BBC version of Sherlock was a new favorite. A lot of people we respect had been talking about it–for several years in fact; we were woefully behind the times. I’d been doling it out slowly, usually taking three days to watch a 90-minute episode. I was confident that she’d enjoy it, but she hadn’t wanted to dive in. We’re quite alike in that regard; when something in pop culture is all the rage, we both tend to avoid it, figuring we’ll catch up later if we want to. But after a certain amount of being-behindness, it seems even harder to get started. But she was ready. And as I’d predicted, she became very enthusiastic. There may be very little What’s My Line? until we have solved all the puzzles of Sherlock–or, at least, until we’ve watched this 21st-century Holmes and Watson solve all their own puzzles.
As befits the Arthur Conan Doyle original on which this series is based, the stories are more suspenseful than frightening, more cerebral than action-filled, more quick-talking than violent. And quirkily funny. But there’s enough action, and enough gorgeous, motion-filled cinematography, that the shows have her gasping and shrieking and clenching more than I’d expected. I knew that horror movies were off-limits for her–which is fine, as I don’t like them either–but I was surprised at how jumpy she got.
Maybe Sherlock isn’t the best viewing for just before bedtime. And maybe it’s not the sort of thing that engages her appetite. Or maybe she just didn’t enjoy dinner as much as I did.
It’s a mystery.