For someone who has pretty much retired from cooking, I get an urge once in a blue moon to come out of retirement and make something tasty.
Okay, to be honest, I never was much of a cook and I never especially liked doing it, so you can understand why, after years of feeding seven people – we had five children, in case you’re just tuning in to this column – turning in my chef’s hat was a cause for celebration.
Probably more so for Bing, who bravely suffered through all my cooking missteps in the kitchen and pretended he liked whatever I set before him.
The one exception was when I served him slightly moldy chili (no one ever told me ground beef, if left to languish in the refrigerator too long, could be lethal). After being violently ill for a couple of days (he was the only one in the family who ate the chili, I forget why), he finally resumed speaking to me and even eventually forgave me. Frankly, I thought he was being a bit of a baby about the whole thing, but I refrained from saying so out loud.
When we were first married, I could make two things well: fudge (not the boil-to-the-soft-ball stage kind of fudge, which was way too complicated for me, but the melt-a-bag-of-chocolate-chips-and-add-a-little-milk kind of fudge; and tuna casserole. The latter requires a can of tuna (duh!), a can of mushroom soup, and some potato chips crushed and sprinkled over the top.
Back in those days, we Catholics didn’t eat meat on Fridays, so my expertise with tuna casserole was a godsend.
Bing never complained when I served tuna casserole every Friday, but I think he breathed a great sigh of relief when that rule was dropped, thinking that he wouldn’t be subjected to that dish every week from then on.
Of course, he was wrong, since my repertoire of main dishes was still limited, so I’d fall back on tuna casserole quite often, this time not just on Fridays. Finally, many years later, he manfully ate a helping of tuna casserole one evening, put down his fork, and announced he never wanted to see another tuna casserole as long as he lived.
I didn’t think he needed to be so dramatic about it, but I acquiesced, mainly because he almost never gave ultimatums. Actually, I think that was the only ultimatum he ever gave.
I guess he really didn’t like that dish very much.
And so, dear readers, my urge to make something tasty involves, you guessed it, tuna casserole. I intend to make it any day now and I know it will be just as delicious as I remember it. I’ll top it off with a batch of melted-chocolate-chips fudge and I’ll feel like a starry-eyed bride once again.
I am, I guess, easily amused.
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