Posts Tagged ‘salad days’

You know what really grills my cheese today, Internet? People who don’t follow the rules. Why? What is it about some people that makes them so confident they are ABOVE the rules? Or that the rules don’t apply to them? See ANY NEWS ITEM ANYMORE for plentiful, deeply disheartening examples.

Today, specifically, I am directing my rule follower rage at the woman who not only brought her cart out into the parking lot – which is strictly forbidden at my grocery store – but then LEFT IT THERE, on the tiny concrete divider between the parking spaces.

I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there is some physical disability at play. But, honestly, that excuse ain’t gonna cut it, sistah, because our grocery store offers – purely because of the no-carts-in-the-parking-lot rule – courtesy bag loading into your car. It’s totally free! There are even signs everywhere that say NO TIPPING (although I still tip; people tip and I don’t want to be The Woman Who Doesn’t Tip, especially given that I go there every week), so she can’t even blame the lack of cash in her wallet.

Okay, okay. I KNOW there could be other perfectly valid reasons – like maybe she has an emergency that she learned about exactly at the moment she was done checking out and can’t fathom waiting in the bag loading zone for the two extra minutes it takes the cheery bag loader staff to load your bags into your car. Or maybe she just got some terrible news and, completely gobsmacked (why is gobsmacked not a word, Word?) by the terribleness of it, she is floating through the store forgetting her eggs and not really paying attention to her cart.

But my overall experience with people is that there often ISN’T a reason, besides an inexplicable certainty of being the center of the universe and therefore able to flout rules whenever the whim takes hold.

See also the people who go zooming down the shoulder of the freeway when everyone else is stopped, waiting for an accident to clear. Who ARE those people? And why do THEY get to decide THEIR needs take priority over everyone else’s needs and safety?

Well. I am in A Mood, apparently.

It’s the week before my family’s Thanksgiving, so I’m a wee bit anxious about that. Pre-exhausted, still, even though I was pre-exhausted two weeks ago.

And I am yet again faced with planning and making meals for myself and my family. Whatever shall we eat?

Dinners for the Week of November 12-November 18

Note: I went to three different grocery stores to find the haloumi, which is a firm cheese that this recipe recommends pan-frying and turning into croutons. I DID find the haloumi at the third store, but it was $9.99, so I did not buy it. I will do a lot for the sake of an interesting-sounding recipe, but it turns out I will not spend just shy of $10 on a block of cheese. Instead, I bought something called bread cheese, which sounds similar to haloumi, although I guess we’ll never know, and was a much more reasonable $6.35. Sigh. That is STILL too much to spend on cheese, but I did it. I will report back on whether it was worth it.

Note: We did not eat this last week, even though it was on the menu. So I am making sure we eat it THIS week. Also, I do not particularly like roasted carrots but I saw a bag of rainbow carrots at Trader Joe’s and I was powerless to resist it. 

Note: This is an old standby. Good when I have no inspiration.

  • Chicken with Zucchini

Note: Speaking of no inspiration — this is like… just the basics. I have chicken in the freezer, a plethora of marinade possibilities, and a pile of zucchini, so I’m ready for whatever day requires a super easy meal. 

  • Pork Chops with Broccoli

Note: Same as above, but with pork, obvs. And I even splurged and got pre-cut, bagged broccoli this week. Maybe this will help me stick to my menu plan and not make a last-minute decision to go eat Mexican food. 

Note: I made the MOST AMAZING impromptu pizza this weekend, and I am going to make it again for dinner on Friday.

  • Breakfast for Dinner

Note: Breakfast is one of the few foods that Carla eats reliably – and she will even eat scrambled eggs if I bribe her with pancakes. A few commenters suggested this last week, and I never do it, even though it is SO easy, and relatively healthful. Well, now I have bacon in my fridge and I’m stocked up on eggs and freezer pancakes and READY TO GO.



What are you eating this week, Internet?

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One of the things I’ve begun becoming more aware of in the past few years is how so many of my belief systems and behaviors come directly from my parents. This is not groundbreaking information by any means. And, in fact, I knew this, all along. But – maybe since Carla was born, and I’ve had to confront my own goals and priorities as a parent – I’ve really understood it on a deeper, more personal level. And I’ve had to really grapple with the fact that maybe just because my beloved parents felt a certain way about something doesn’t mean that it’s the only way, nor does it mean that I have to feel that way. It’s also complicated and confusing and eye-opening to wonder if you think a thing because YOU think that thing, or because it was so deeply ingrained in how you were raised.

It’s hard enough to deal with this stuff on your own. But then you add in a spouse, who likely has his/her/their own deeply ingrained beliefs… and things can get rather sticky.

Now, we could talk for days about the troubling and insidious examples of this phenomenon – abuse or racism or other really dark inheritances that parents pass down to their children. And we should give these topics proper weight and attention and thought. But this isn’t really the space to do so, and I’m not at all qualified to address any of those topics. Plus, I have a good relationship with my parents and, in fact, I feel like they were/are really EXCELLENT parents, so I don’t want to harp on the handful of low-risk things that I might be questioning as an adult, especially in a public space. Plus, there’s enough CLEAR EVIDENCE of the dark stuff swirling all around us on a daily basis, so we could all skip on over to twitter or whatever if we wanted a nice bracing slug of doom and dread.

No, I’m not trying to broach the big stuff, or the heavy stuff, or even the lower-but-not-low-stakes stuff, like ingrained beliefs about finances and education and religion (which I find fascinating, but can nonetheless Be Fraught). Instead, I want to talk about inherited beliefs regarding ridiculous and unimportant-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things things. Specifically, salads.

My mother made dinner for us almost every night. And – unless we were eating taco salad, which has salad right there in the name – we almost always had a salad with dinner. Fried chicken on the menu? Side salad. Pot roast for Sunday family meal? Side salad. Mulligatawny soup? Fresh bread… and side salad. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mom served a side salad on nights when we picked up a pie from Pizza Hut. (I felt absolutely ridiculous, there, referring to a pizza as a “pie.” My belief system does not allow for the terms to be interchangeable. But lyrically I did not like the repetition of “pizza from Pizza Hut” and would have felt more ridiculous still had I gone with my only other thought, “pizza from ‘The Hut.'” So you get what you get.) Salad was a ubiquitous part of our meals. As an adult, I choose to think that this was my mom’s interpretation of “meat and a vegetable,” but even when vegetables were part of the meal, the side salad was there.

My husband and I do not do this. And to this day, it feels off to me, like something is missing. Could I add a side salad to our meals? Sure! But that’s where the problem lies. No. My husband and I have differing ingrained beliefs about salads.

My mom’s side salads were very simple: Iceberg lettuce, diced carrots, and diced red onion. With Italian or bleu cheese dressing from a bottle. Once in a while, if she had them on hand, she’d slice some green peppers or cucumbers or radishes and throw those on as well. YUM. I still eat these salads, to this day, for lunch. They are so easy to make – you can wash the lettuce and dice everything in under ten minutes. And BAM, you have a delicious crunchy salad, all ready to eat.

(This was my idea of an after-school snack, when I was in, oh, late elementary school through middle school or so. Maybe even after that. I’d trudge up the mile-long hill that counted as our driveway, turn on some quality after-school TV like Square One or The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, and make myself a salad.) (Lest you question my programming choices, keep in mind that we had five channels to choose from: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS. Sometimes, if the weather was clear, we could get CBC, which was a Canadian channel.) (Do not pity me my meager television choices nor my salad snacks. Mine was an idyllic childhood and I think back on both fondly.)

It would be so easy to add this kind of simple salad to my meal plan! My ingrained belief about what constitutes A Wholesome Dinner practically SCREAMS that I add one to each meal! But here’s where my husband’s beliefs and my own butt heads.

I don’t know how he was raised, salad-wise. I just know that somewhere along the way my husband came to believe that my mom’s four-ingredient option does not count as a salad. Firstly, he does not particularly like iceberg lettuce – which, for me, is far easier to clean and prepare than a head of red leaf lettuce or romaine, and far less expensive than the pre-washed/pre-cut lettuces our grocery store sells in abundance. (Plus, I LOVE iceberg lettuce. It’s crunchy and flavorless and wonderful.)

But our marital salad division goes deeper than lettuce choice. My salads are too plain. For my husband, a salad requires substance. It contains veggies, sure, but it also has meat. And cheese. And nuts. Maybe some sort of fruit. Maybe something crunchy – like wontons or croutons or chips. I am more than happy to make this kind of elaborate salad as the entire meal, but less inclined to put one together as a side when I am also responsible for a main course.

And so, as with any inconsequential marital schism, where neither of us will give (he won’t eat my four-ingredient salads; I won’t make elaborate multi-ingredient meal salads as dinner sides), we pretend it doesn’t exist. We do not mention it. We simply work around it. We instead have salads as the whole meal, or we have veggies with our main course. If we are suffering, we do so in silence.

And I eat my little iceberg lettuce salads for lunch.



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