She ordered Thai food for lunch. Pineapple fried rice, no doubt; probably with chicken. But she didn’t take a bite.
So many calls and meetings had interrupted her morning that the oatmeal she’d prepared had ended up hard and cold and unpalatable. So she had her lunch–spiced lamb and hummus–for breakfast, and ordered takeout at lunchtime.
I’m sure she rushed to the lobby to meet the delivery person. I’m sure she tipped well. I’m sure she put the bag on the floor carefully beside her desk, out of her way. I’m sure she dove back into work. I don’t know why she left–maybe for another meeting, or maybe just to use the rest room. But during that precise window, a custodian came to her office and did what he was meant to do: the restaurant bag on the floor was clearly intended to be discarded. She found it in the trash, opened and untouchable.
She was grumpy-hungry. Come to think of it, so was I. I’d worked through breakfast, too. Lunch had been a long time ago, and that was before the stressful rehearsal, and the even more stressful drive through snow and sleet to meet her train.
She didn’t care what we had for dinner–even the kale soup, which she hadn’t liked after all that work. I’d had some of it for lunch, and liked it a lot, though with its bitter greens and wine-rich beef broth, I could see why she didn’t. Kale soup was out.
First rule of the kitchen: Love people, cook them tasty food. It had to be something we’d both like. A sure thing.
I’d taken a small ball of pizza dough out of the freezer before I left for work. It was thawed and ready for action. I floured a mat, stretched it thin, and topped it with a little tomato sauce. Cheese next: a few dabs of ricotta, some shredded mozzarella, and some shaved parmesan. I’d defrosted a couple of meatballs, too; I crumbled one and added it, then topped with a little more mozzarella. I was trying to make a calzone, but I hadn’t left quite enough dough for crimping. I rolled the dough-and-toppings like a small burrito, and baked it for 15 minutes. Not quite golden at that point, I gave it another 3. Three more after that, and it was perfect.
During those last 6 minutes, I sautéed some vegetables: asparagus, grape tomatoes, and mushrooms. That seemed more-than-vaguely Italian, and warmer than a salad. With the wintry mess outside, I wanted no cold food.
We watched the pilot episode of The West Wing during dinner. We’ve both seen it many times. “I love these people!” she said, as CJ fell off a treadmill. We giggled as Sam revealed that he knew nothing about the history of the White House, and marveled at the strength of President Bartlet’s first entrance. We’ll go back to working our way through Alias sometime, but there are days when suspense and cartoonish violence should not be on the menu.
The calzone might have burned. We might have had a driving accident in the snow. One of us might hurt the other with a flinching elbow or a careless word. Bad news or a TV story might lead to nightmares. Nothing in life is a sure thing. But we go slowly and carefully, avoiding unnecessary risk, finding joy where we can, drinking lots of water, eating our vegetables. So far, so good.