Sometimes we cook together, start to finish. Sometimes one of us is on dinner duty while the other handles other chores, or isn’t even home yet. Or it’s some combination of the two.
Knowing there would be tomatoes in this week’s CSA distribution, and realizing we still had a pile of tomatoes from last week’s share, we decided on a simple sauce to serve with pasta. While she was at work on Tuesday, I chopped the tomatoes, diced an onion, and baked some bacon. Upon her return, she sautéed the onion, added tomatoes and capers, and cooked them until the tomatoes were soft and their juices reduced; also, she made a batch of penne. Everything was cooled and tucked away for Wednesday dinner.
We met at the terminal for a companionable train ride home in the Quiet Car; I worked on lyrics for a new project, she read an Agatha Christie novel. Home at the Country House, we divided labor: she cleared the laundry closet for the painter who’ll arrive this morning; I fixed dinner. I heated the sauce, gave the pasta a hot-water dunk to warm and separate, snipped some basil, crumbled a slice of bacon, sprinkled some cheese, added a little salt and pepper, and bowled it up, along with a couple ears of late-summer corn. She finished the closet in time to prepare croutons (small pieces of bread we use to butter ears of corn), and we settled down to enjoy the result.
It isn’t just cooking; maybe she’ll sort and start a load of laundry, and I’ll switch it to the dryer and fold it, or the other way around. Dishes are washed and dried; the dishwasher is loaded and emptied; the cats get fed and the litter box scooped. We don’t have “assigned” chores, but everything gets done.
Sharing. Nothing fancy. But simple. And wonderful. Like a bowl of pasta and an ear of corn.
Pasta and corn. Lots of basil, in place of a salad. I forgot the mozzarella cheese we’d planned to cube into this dish, but that means the leftovers will be different!
She and her dad left early for New York and a day of putting the City House back the way she had found it: white walls, empty rooms, and broom-clean floors. I left for a pre-work run, training for a 20K race next weekend. None of us had quite the day we expected.
They couldn’t find parking. They needed more paint. The air conditioner wouldn’t come off its mounting. The landlord didn’t show up to collect the keys. There was a 75-minute wait to return equipment to the cable company. One thing after another.
The complications of my day were fewer: I just got stung by a bee. On the roof of my mouth. I mean, really. Who gets stung on the roof of the mouth? Pained but with no other symptoms, I made an appointment to see the doctor, finished my run, and went to the office. My doctor, a fellow runner, said I’d done the right thing; he prescribed ibuprofen, ice cubes, and a Benadryl at bedtime.
By the end of the day, nobody felt like cooking. She likes the barbecue place not far from home, so I passed around the laptop–the 21st century version of a binder full of menus. Her dad and I chose the pulled pork. “Can I do something completely not authentic?” she asked. Reminded that she is an adult and fully capable of making her own choices, she opted for the penne pasta with vodka sauce and grilled chicken. And a cheese quesadilla.
The girl ordered Italian and Mexican food. From the barbecue place.
The hostess was terribly sorry that she couldn’t deliver the collard greens I’d hoped for as a side dish. I was only sorry I couldn’t place her accent. Australian? South African? Second-year theatre student practicing her dialect-class homework?
The pulled pork was smoky and citrusy. The cornbread was moist and full of actual corn. The cole slaw wasn’t as good as the Colonel’s (or even the reverse-engineered version I make when there’s time), but it was fine. And, apparently, the penne and quesadilla were good, too. I’d ask, but she’s asleep on the couch.