Okay, today I am ignoring those pesky little dust bunnies growing in the corner of the hallway, and am focusing on cooking. For those butch wives whose cooking skills mirror mine, my sincere sympathies. There is, however, hope. Have you discovered Trader Joe’s? In San Francisco we have several around town, and I have to say, for the two of us, their packaged entrees are just the right size and taste good.
When I started checking out cookbooks to come up with something to fix for dinner, the choices and tasks to complete the recipes noted were daunting. Living in one of the finest restaurant towns in the world has left me with a good sense of which places and food types I like, but when it comes to preparing them from scratch that’s a whole other story. In the recipe books I tend to turn to the ingredient listings to decide if this is something we might like to eat. I have to admit, however, looking at ingredients for me is sometimes like trying to read the Dead Sea Scrolls - I just have no idea what some of this stuff is and whether it can be bought or is a combination of other stuff I have to pull together. I think cookbooks should tell you if this ingredient is one thing or hybrid of several things. And they should also add some notes of possible ingredient substitutes in case the one thing needed is just not available in any store a human would go for food.
The ingredients I can read also have some mystery qualities as well. For example, what is arugula really and why is it better than head lettuce? And how is aioli different from mayonnaise? Also what’s the difference between a filet and a fillet? When are you supposed to use which for beef? Or is there some unspoken knowledge passed down from generation to generation via secret tribal dances where only a few chosen ones actually KNOW?
And when it comes to measurements – exactly how much is a pinch? What if my ‘pinches’ be bigger than the originator of the recipe since my hand is larger? Doesn’t that mess up the proportions of intended spice to food? And what about measurements that reference “about” so much should be used. How much is “about”? I got no measuring tool for “about.” Does anyone?
Butch Wife Tip #12
Given the uncertainty here, I have come to rely on Trader Joe’s. And, for my friends in San Francisco, I have discovered the best time to shop the Trader Joe’s on 9th street is Tuesday morning. I have lived in this town for over 40 years, and its only been this year that I can say I know when this store is least crowded. I’m not sure how to feel about this new found knowledge in terms of its relative importance in relation to universal Truths, but there you have it. Their entrees sizes are just right for one or two people and they can be surprisingly tasty. So give ‘em a try. Saves time in prep work that you can spend with your wife wondering why you didn’t go out to dinner in the first place.
Julie Butch Wife Extraordinaire-in-Training