I think I’m doing better with the cooking part of stay-at-home wife life than I am the cleaning. I’ve never cooked so many meals in succession before. (Yes, you’re reading that right. Two weeks’ worth.) I love eating cereal, or entire boxes of Kraft Dinner, or entire cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup (not the reduced sodium stuff though, that may as well be dish water). But, since I am now a wife, and since everyone in this apartment is trying to lose weight, it’s important that I cook something healthy, every. damn. day. I stand in the kitchen each evening and think “wasn’t I just here? Like, yesterday?”
My husband lost a wicked amount of weight in a short amount of time on the Ideal Protein diet, before our wedding. He was on the diet when I visited in March – the trip where I searched on Expedia for earlier flights home (back to snow, ice, & a wind storm) because the diet was making us both miserable, him as a participant, me as the houseguest and consequent obligatory follower of it. It’s a diet that gives you prepackaged meals super high in – YOU GOT IT – protein, except for supper, which you’re expected to cook for yourself.
He’s since ditched the prepackaged parts, which only adds to the domestic pressure on me to now also have high-protein, low-carb, extra-low-sugar meals not once, but THREE times a day.
Cue the Elvis Costello again…
We’re sticking to IP’s list of approved foods you can eat for evening meals. Here’s what’s allowed:
- Bell peppers
- Green onion
- Unlimited lettuce. (Unlimited!)
- And other practical options like algae, celeriac, jicama, kohirabi, raddichio, and sorrel. You know, the regs.
Here’s your once-a-week treat items (only one from this list each week):
- Beans (both green & wax)
- Brussel sprouts
THAT’S IT. Then you’ve got your allowed proteins: skinless chicken, white fish, salmon (but only once a week), really expensive cuts of beef, frog legs, elk, and ostrich. (No lie.) You may cook and serve all of this with a selection of vinegar and 2 tbsp of olive oil a day. Yay!
Not allowed – Fruit. Root vegetables. Bread. Rice. Pasta. Nuts. Sugar. Alcohol. GIN. Anything you might be able to use to turn the allowed list into something delicious or cloud the fact you’re tired of gritting your teeth chewing spinach. So on top of living away from home, living with a boy, being a stay-at-home wife, now I’ve also added to the mix GIVEN UP REFINED SUGAR.
There are two positives to eating like this: it’s super healthy to cook from scratch and avoid prepackaged foods. And having so few choices makes my meal planning each week very obvious. (Ugh. I just said meal planning. Let’s go watch paint dry.)
Of the many downsides of the diet, the most challenging is coming up with delicious and different ways to cook this crap each night. I wish Paul Simon had a song for 50 ways to grill your poultry.
I’m gradually improving. Can pretty much time dinner to when my husband says he’ll be home. I am a big fan of the one-pan dinners flooding Pinterest right now, so that’s basically my only M.O. (That’s Criminal Minds speak from modus operandi.) Unlike when I was here in March, I’m not keeping Hersey chocolate bars hidden in the freezer or mixed gin & tonics sitting in the microwave out of sight.
But I’ve had two colossal fails:
One – striploin. I got bored last Tuesday. Was on my fifth rerun of Home Improvement (#childofthenineties) and Jill was cooking Tim a massive T-bone for his birthday. Wanting to pan fry steak the best way known to man, I read an article written by a man about his opinions on how to do it. (Therein lies my first mistake, I think. Best steak I’ve ever eaten is my mom’s.) He said to season it with salt 45 minutes in advance. Determined to rock the hell out of this steak, I salted the hell out of it. Sea salt. Both sides. Rubbed it in. With gusto.
The result was the
greyist grayist looking meat I’ve ever seen, and the only thing you could taste was sodium. My husband struggled to get it down. I’ve never seen him not clean his plate before. He started sweating. I started crying into my salad. (The tears just added to the saltiness of the whole ordeal.)
So, at least for the short term, I’m no longer preparing/touching any steak. That’s his one contribution to the week’s worth of evening cooking.
The other epic fail was surprising. I’ve nailed these before. Honey balsamic roasted Brussel sprouts. I was inspired by my last night out back home, where I ate at Tavola and they were sold out of their infamous Brussel sprouts appy. But the ‘sprouts got me good this time. Internet told me to roast for 20 minutes. Still hard as rocks. Sneaky mother f**kers. I left them in for another 20. At this point, we’re both starving and you think how bad can undercooked Brussel sprouts really be? We were both encroaching on hangry (for non-millennials, that’s an unfortunate combination of hungry & angry). I felt like a stay-at-home wife failure, keeping us waiting sooo long to eat. Plus, I even cheated to make them extra delicious by using forbidden ingredients. I was about to taste sugar again!
To answer my own question – pretty friggin’ bad. We were basically Ellen and Clark at Christmas dinner.
Neither of us was having a great day to begin with. I was referred to as “the dependent” too many times at the bank earlier (why does that word make someone sound like “the inferior?”) and he spilled coffee all over his white & only shirt at the office. A rough day only made more apparent by the over-exertion of our jaw muscles trying to masticate those mother f**kers.
Pass the gin.