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Zoethe

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Cooking is communal [Aug. 8th, 2011|09:19 am]
Zoethe
Saturday Ferrett and I stumbled across the Medina farmer's market. At the end of the fair, I took a picture of our chosen pictures. My purchases are on the left, Ferrett's purchases are on the right:



It kind of sums up our food styles, doesn't it?

It's not that Ferrett won't ever eat vegetables--he's gotten much better about it. But there are a limited number of veggies he's gotten adapted to, and no fresh fruit. And I don't think there will ever come a time when fruits and veggies are his go-to choices.

It also points to one of the problems I have getting motivated with things like gardening and cooking. Ferrett can't stand peppers, and I love them. He doesn't care for fish, and I adore it. He eats no fresh fruit (except smoothies) and few vegetables. I've toyed with planting a garden, but here's the problem. I want to plant:

Tomatoes
Bell peppers
Zucchini
Squash
Snow Peas
Lettuce
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Eggplant
Strawberries
Potatoes

Of those, Ferrett will eat:

Snow Peas
Lettuce
Potatoes

We have a tiny yard and don't have room for corn or onions--honestly, we really don't have room for all the items I have on the list. And it's hard to get excited about working on a garden that's pretty much just for myself.

I have the same problem with cooking. Ferrett often encourages me to cook things with bell peppers and other ingredients that he doesn't like, saying that he will just make himself something else. But when I cook, I want to cook for people and not just for me. It takes all the fun out of cooking a meal if I'm going to sit here eating it myself while he fries up a hamburger patty and calls it good.

Because for me the very act of cooking is about sharing a part of myself. Even if it is only half an hour of my time, it's still an act that connects me to the very concept of family. Cooking only for myself and letting others fend for themselves isn't just selfishness, it's an act of isolation. I feel like I'm just on a parallel path with Ferrett and not a circle of community. So when I cook for us, I put aside the dishes that contain things he doesn't like, even though it can be frustrating at times. Because my higher priority is in sharing.

My girls are coming to town next weekend, and while they are here I will cook for them. I will make the favorite family dishes that all contain lots of bell peppers. Because that is a circle of sharing that they and I experience only rarely these days. For that long weekend, Ferrett will be on his own in the kitchen. It still makes me a little sad, because I'd rather he liked the foods that say "home" and "comfort" to my daughters and me, but I'm grateful that he encourages us to enjoy those special meals and special times together.

Crossposting from Dreamwidth now. Sigh. If LJ won't let you comment, you can comment here: http://zoethe.dreamwidth.org/782172.html?mode=reply:
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: magicpointeshoe
2011-08-08 01:43 pm (UTC)
Aw, ferret fell of the wagon? I seem to remember a while back ferret blogging about introducing himself and making a concerted effort to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits. That in the effort explaining that how they are cooked made the difference. And he also was attempting to buy into the idea that if you eat them on X amount of occassions, the taste grows on you. Did I miss an update of "well that sucked and so not true?"

Lollerskates at the humanity of this. My husband was the worst vegetarian that I ever met when we first started dating. No fruit, no vegetables, just fake burgers and hotdogs.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 01:50 pm (UTC)
He will still try new things, but his go-to instincts for purchasing will never include fruits and veggies.

And fruit is just a nonstarter with him still. It's sweet but not sweet like candy, so it just doesn't have a place in his palate.

I have to remind him about the trying, though. He's gotten a bit sloppy about that of late.
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2011-08-08 02:07 pm (UTC)
Alec isn't this bad. He rebels against my veggie-heavy dishes after a few nights, but he'll eat them sometimes. Sometimes I'll make something and serve it and be like "I know you probably won't like this" because it's not that he hates it so much as it's a lot more my thing than his (often this is something like pasta with a ton of sauteed veggies and cottage cheese).

But you and I are both much better off than some friends of ours (husband and wife)--he literally eats pasta with butter all the time at home, and nothing else. If they go out he may order breadsticks or french fries. I don't know how he survives on this diet. She is on her own to cook something more nutritious for herself and the kid, so she really likes cooking for company.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 02:23 pm (UTC)
Ferrett will eat some, but not a lot of veggies. It's way better than when we first got together and he only ate meat and carbs!
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2011-08-08 02:38 pm (UTC)
What I ended up doing was starting small with a garden of things that most people will eat, and then one or two things just for me. So I have a couple of tomato plants (we'll all eat them) and cucumbers (we'll all eat them, to a degree) and then I planted two green peppers (all for ME ME ME.)

I'd love to plant zuccinni and other squash and all sorts of things that I'll eat, but I wouldn't be able to keep up with it. But I can eat an entire green pepper in one sitting as a snack, so I'm not worried about that.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 03:07 pm (UTC)
I may try that next year.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-08-08 02:46 pm (UTC)
As a carnivore and cerealatarian, I have some tips:

if the barrier is taste:
* Spices. Pensey's Spices in Texas does great mail-order spices, fresh, cheap, delicious; and if all else fails a healthy dose of Tony Chachere's will cover most things.

If the barrier is texture:
* Different methods - chop up the tomato, throw it in the meatloaf. Pan-fry those green beans with almonds and sea-salt.

Other:
* New teeth, new diet.

Bear in mind, though, that there will be some things that will never make it - for instance, the only way I can eat pumpkin to this day is in pie - any other method makes me dry-heave (childhood bad-cooking associations).

On the other hand, pray that neither of you develop my onion problem - I love them, but about two hours after eating any noticeable quantity it feels like a diamond-encrusted howler monkey is clawing it's way out of my colon (with thanks to RKM for the similie).
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 03:10 pm (UTC)
I don't think I could live without being able to eat onions.

Penzey's recently opened a store here. I'm planning to make a trip there today.

That is how we eat green beans.

I'm sorry about your pumpkin hatred.
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[User Picture]From: throbinson
2011-08-08 02:55 pm (UTC)
My husband has a similar distaste for vegetables and fruits. The green things we eat at home consist of lettuce and green beans. No fresh fruit whatsoever; I think it's a consistency thing, he doesn't eat things that are "mushy". Not sure why apples don't make the cut, in that case. He will eat raisins.

And of course potatoes in any form are fine (not-green).

Whenever I make pasta sauce, he will pick out chunks of tomato or onion. I can either mince the onion into unrecognizable size or leave it out altogether.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 03:13 pm (UTC)
The food processor has been my friend for the texture thing. It hides a multitude of veggies.
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[User Picture]From: dragonsflame71
2011-08-08 03:54 pm (UTC)
Ryan & I often plant garden items that the other doesn't care for... I just plant fewer plants. I don't care for peppers, but I don't mind cooking with them because I love the flavor they infuse into the other parts of the meal (like meat). Luckily Ryan likes the peppers enough to eat all of mine too.

Get a bearded dragon.... :D they eat most of what is on your list... You can "cook" for them and yourself :p I do that with my two.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 04:14 pm (UTC)
I can't even cook with peppers, he finds them so vile. When I make stir fry, I cook my peppers separately and add them to my dish, which is a reasonable compromise.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 04:15 pm (UTC)
It's a strange place to be, and kind of frustrating.
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From: simulated_knave
2011-08-08 03:57 pm (UTC)
I shudder to think of a life without tomatoes and bell peppers.

I have a few suggestions:

An herb garden. Fresh mint is wonderful (especially in lemonade), and green onions are useful and take up less space than actual onions. And of course there are chives and the usual array of basil et al.

Cherry tomatoes. All the fun of actual tomatoes, and they're basically a snack or a salad topping, so it's less of a process to use them. Instead of cutting up a tomato for one, you throw some tomatoes on top of the salad you were making anyway. And the plants tend to be a little smaller anyway. And the weight of the fruit doesn't pull them off the stakes. They're just better.

I notice you left off cucumbers, carrots, beets (and their greens) and parsnips. Leaving aside the deliciousness of candied parsnips, they're all very practical for the domestic garden.

Oh, and you can use zucchini in zucchini chocolate cake and other such artful methods of concealment. I think one of those "hide the food from picky children" sites might be of help here. ;)
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From: simulated_knave
2011-08-08 03:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, and you nicely encapsulated why I don't like eating something different from my fiancee when at home. Well done, you. :)
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[User Picture]From: jenni_the_odd
2011-08-08 03:58 pm (UTC)
My dad is the same way about veggies. He'll eat lettuce, avocado, corn, and potatoes. That's... mostly it (and I tend to categorize corn and potatoes as starch, not veggies). Sometimes I can get him to eat broccoli or spinach, but it's rare. And at 70, he's not likely to change his ways anytime soon. So, since my family consists of him + a vegan, a vegetarian, and three omnivores that LOVE vegetables, I can wind up cooking at least three different dinners each night. It's... a challenge.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 04:19 pm (UTC)
That's a lot to ask of you. Eek.
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[User Picture]From: khiron1416
2011-08-08 04:11 pm (UTC)
has he tried zucchini that's been cut into those long pickle slices, rubbed with olive oil, and seasoned with italian herb mix and maybe salt and pepper, and grilled?

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 04:20 pm (UTC)
I will do that tonight with the zucchini I got at the farmer's market. Good idea.
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From: anonymousalex
2011-08-08 05:18 pm (UTC)
Not that you're wrong, but at least some times, it's your birthday and you should have a pepper.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 08:11 pm (UTC)
I bought myself three today - they were very cheap at the farmer's market.
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[User Picture]From: pixievixen
2011-08-08 06:05 pm (UTC)
i have lived that life. i once had a long term boyfriend that hated garlic... garlic!!!???? i should have known then it was doomed from the start. everything i knew how to cook at that age had garlic in it. he was not the first or last picky eater i was involved with.

the worst was living with my grandmother after my accident... she only eats a few things, and gets sick of things quickly. there are only so many ways one can cook chicken, turkey, and a couple kinds of fish that aren't spicy (this includes a sprinkle of black pepper), don't have much in the way of sauce, etc.... and if we ate it once before in the last two weeks it was, "it seems like we have this every night!" ugh.

i am blessed now to have a partner that not only will try pretty much anything, but genuinely loves almost everything i make. i go on kicks where i fall temporarily in love with some new food/cuisine, and i make a ton of similar things for a week or so while i experiment and perfect the flavors. he not only never complains at all, but seems to have as much fun with it as i do. it's heaven!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 08:17 pm (UTC)
That's awesome. You are lucky to have had the picky eater experience so that you appreciate him all the more!
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[User Picture]From: kuangning
2011-08-08 06:18 pm (UTC)
My ex-husband was like that, only worse. His entire grocery list, left to himself, was peanut butter, tuna, maybe some orange juice, and crackers. He didn't like milk. He wouldn't eat eggs. He didn't like cheese except on a pizza. He didn't do vegetables. He'd never tasted fruits I considered basic, like strawberries. I don't know how he lived. I do know that once I started doing the shopping and cooking, he went from being 155-ish pounds (at 6' 4") to a much more reasonable 175-ish, where his cheeks were not deep hollows and there was actually padding over his hipbones.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 08:23 pm (UTC)
That's pretty astounding; I can't imagine eating like that. I will stop complaining about Ferrett!
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[User Picture]From: whyelaborate
2011-08-08 06:53 pm (UTC)
I have always force fed all of my boyfriends extravagent vegetable heavy meals, sometimes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Maybe this is why I am single. :-X
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 08:28 pm (UTC)
You are welcome to feed me....
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[User Picture]From: mermaidnchains
2011-08-08 08:36 pm (UTC)
You probably know this, but you can roast veggies in a way that they taste and resemble roasted potato's. Ferrett might like that.

Also - think of getting a juicer. With one you can juice fresh veggies WITH fruit and make his smoothies more healthy.

....this coming from the girl eating a bacon and mayo samich' on white bread here but still... thinking outside the box. :D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'm trying different ways of cooking things and that's been successful in some cases.

We have gotten out of the smoothie habit. Must get back to it.
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[User Picture]From: flitterkit
2011-08-08 09:19 pm (UTC)
If you do decide to do potatoes, it's easy to grow them in a barrel (minimal space required, you just plant them with a bit of dirt 8-10" near the bottom, and keep adding dirt as the plant grows up.) and I highly recommend heirloom plants, they are tastier.

Also, I can mail you a few heirloom fingerlings.(just let me know, I should have your address somewhere) Mine exploded this year, and they are made of tasty. :) Usually I just plant a few tomato plants, heirloom variety and maybe a heirloom cucumber or two. Anything else I can usually get for cheap and good at the farmer's markets easier than growing it.

If you are debating,
I'd grow snow peas. They are FANTASTIC fresh picked. :)
A cherry tomato plant. (I grow Sungolds, they are tiny orange cherry tomatoes and my friend who doesn't like tomatoes eats them by the handful. :P)
and Potatoes. Fresh is just Soooo much better.

Also, if he is willing to try, I second mermaidnchain's suggestions. Baked is what I recommend as a method of getting friends to eat
Broccoli/pearl onions/cauliflower/beets/parsnips/Carrots?.. etc..

Cut choice of veggies into bite sized chunks, put on lined? cookie tray, sprinkle with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and a little cinnamon, bake in a 350 oven till starts to brown. (I often turn things over so more gets browned). It's a very different taste than steaming or sauteing or boiling. He might like it. I MUCH prefer cauliflower this way, and I LIKE veggies. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-08 10:12 pm (UTC)
Yum.... I am getting hungry reading this.
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[User Picture]From: fitfool
2011-08-08 11:38 pm (UTC)
What kind of preparations has Ferrett tried for things he doesn't like? I'd be curious to see what the objections are for the ones he doesn't like. The homegrown strawberries we had growing up at my parents' house remain the sweetest strawberries I've tasted anywhere. They were tiny but they were sweet and yummy. I hadn't learned about balsamic vinegar back then but I bet they would've been awesome. For vegetables, I've found a lot of people who don't generally like veggies will like them well enough to eat them when roasted or grilled. Sounds like you have a lot of friends in the area who might help you with your garden's yield if you do end up planting things you like. And you certainly seem to like sharing with your friends too :) Like you, I find that cooking for others is one way for me to express love for them. Which means I very much want to cook things I think they'll want to eat because if they don't want to eat it, I feel like my tokens of affection weren't well received. Although my boyfriend generally loves what I cook, I will still sometimes cook a few things I know he doesn't really care that much for because I love them and want them (green beans, beets, and lentils for examples). I do try to cook those items on nights when we have leftovers of other things that he can eat instead if he's really not feeling like eating those less-liked items. And, I'll often keep casting around looking for different ways of preparing things I like that he doesn't like in hopes of finding a recipe he likes (succeeded with a few things like corn, cauliflower, cabbage, and even jello!). But other foods, I know I'll be eating almost entirely by myself. Oh and B also doesn't eat hardly any fruit on his own. He likes it ok but not enough to go grab some fruit when he's hungry. But he likes fruit a lot when incorporated into other dishes. So he'll gobble up peach-glazed pork chops with some pan-fried peach slices and adores fried bananas spread over pancakes. Oh and it's not a one-way street. I'm now up to the point of accepting arugula and watercress though he still likes those more than I do.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-09 12:41 am (UTC)
He doesn't like fruit. He doesn't like the tart-sweet flavor at all. I had the sweetest mango I've ever tasted today, and he still didn't like it, but he likes mango lassi, so it's not the mango taste that he dislikes.

He encourages me to try new things, and we're planning on once a week or so having new veggies so he can keep working to expand his palate.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-09 12:42 am (UTC)
Only if you tried to feed him. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2011-08-09 09:59 pm (UTC)
Most of what you've listed, in quantities sufficient for 1-2 plus some for others, can be grown in a 4x4 raised bed. Square foot gardening combined with vertical gardening and you might even have room for some herbs. Layered and sequential planting and harvesting will keep it productive May to October.

You said Ferrett doesn't even like tomatoes? Nothing is quite as convincing as a sweet million cherry tomato fresh off the vine ... they didn't even usually make it into the house ... (Dear Ferrett -- one sweet bite is all it is. If you don't like 'em, I'm sure Zoethe can make 'em disappear before they get into the house.)

Sorry ... I miss my garden ... I lost it to the dam'deers.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-10 02:49 am (UTC)
No, he hates tomatoes. He doesn't object to me having them in the house.

I have thought that the side yard, which is being overrun with raspberries against the house by thistle in between, would be a good place for a square foot garden. Maybe I'll get ambitious next year.

We have bunnies who happily eat everything. Arg.
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[User Picture]From: alumiere
2011-08-09 10:21 pm (UTC)
And a hit for zuccini and/or eggplant - I use them instead of noodles in lasagna type dishes. Cut out seeds then slice thinly on the mandolin, soak in warm salt water for ~ 30 mins (pulls out excess moisture and some of the natural bitterness), then toss in a warm dry pan (I suspect the oven would work too) for a few minutes til slightly golden brown and drier.

Take them and make lasagna - in a 9x13 pyrex pan I usually get two layers of meat, thick sauce, cheese, and veggies. It may be a bit watery in the bottom of the pan, so slice with a knife and serve with a slotted spatula or cake knife.

Or you can roll them up with some proscuitto or pancetta and italian cheese, stab with a toothpick to hold them together and bake til the cheese is melty then top with sauce (I assume he'll eat tomato sauce, if not, an alfredo, pesto or a creamy tomato sauce may work). Remember to pull the toothpicks before eating. And if you deep fry stuff, these can be breaded with panko or italian breadcrumbs and fried - the boys I know seem to like fried foods more than non-fried and will eat things they otherwise won't.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-08-10 02:53 am (UTC)
He will eat tomato sauce. I will have to try it.
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