Sunday, January 16, 2022

frozen dinner on a stick

Several years ago, fellow blogger Jennifer Rose posed an interesting question.

You have returned to your house after a late night flight. Because you have been away for a couple weeks, there is nothing fresh in your refrigerator. You are hungry. What are you going to eat?

My first thought was that the situation would never arise for me because all of my flights arrive in Manzanillo in the late afternoon. But, years of trial practice have taught me arguing with a hypothetical is a fool's mission. It always undermines your best case.

So, I put myself in the situation and came up with a simple answer. At least, a simple answer for me.

When I was a working single man, I discovered there was not sufficient time during the week to indulge in one of my favorite passions - - cooking. It is second only to my passion for eating what I cook. I solved the time problem by spending Sunday afternoons cooking up meals that I could freeze and then quickly thaw on my late evening arrivals at home. Around 8 or 9.

After three Sundays, I had built up quite a variety of meals. And each Sunday added more.

I had tried buying Stouffer's dinners -- and the like. But they were never as good as my own cooking. No. That is not accurate. They were terrible. Far worse than anyone's cooking.

Of course, the frozen version of my dinners were never as good as when they were first cooked. The result was efficient, but I developed an evidence-based disdain for frozen food.

I have plenty of time to cook for myself now that I am retired in Mexico -- and the ingredients on offer are almost limitless. Maybe both time and food are too abundant because I end up cooking too many portions almost every time I do battle with the stove. That means that leftovers are frozen before they need to be tossed out.

It turns out that is a good thing. At least, for this week. I now have fewer temptations to venture out my front door while I am self-isolating with covid. 

No one plans for covid isolation. I certainly didn't. When I went to ground on Wednesday, there were only a few fresh vegetables in my crisper and no fresh meat in the meat tray. But I was still prepared. My frozen leftovers would hold me over.

To my surprise, I had not accumulated very many in my freezer. My freezer in Salem had dinners that were frozen when Joe Biden was a young man.

My haul this week was quite different. There were two bags of bean and ham soup, one of chicken biryani, and of lamb kheema pulao. All no older than last September. I thought I had some Nigerian beef stew, but I must have eaten all of it.

Fortunately, I re-discovered two treasures that were waiting for their time to shine: four lamb steaks and a leg of duck.

The leftover bags are gone. Tonight I am going to tackle two of the lamb steaks as a stir-fry with some fresh grape tomatoes, onion, garlic, and whatever else I can find in the refrigerator that is not closer to its pull date than I am to mine. Probably served over basmati rice -- or maybe some orecchiette pasta. I will see which mood hits me when I get around to cooking.

So, Jennifer, I guess the answer to your hypothetical is whatever I have had the foresight to freeze for the future.

And as you have already noticed, it will probably be something Urvashi Pitre-inspired.     

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