Oct 24, 2008

On the Overlooked Joys of Simple Food

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I arrived home to a nearly empty house, as my wife and most of my children ventured out on Friday evening in pursuit of a variety of activities. My one remaining daughter informed me that there was meatloaf and red skinned potatoes in the refrigerator.

Now, as a child I grew weary of everyday dinners like meatloaf, as this was a meal my cost-conscious mother often used to stretch the food budget. While I grudgingly ate most of the food placed in front of me (at least that which did not get smuggled to our Labrador retriever), I pined away for those meals that were the exclusive province of holidays or the rare visit to a restaurant.

Yet I have grown to appreciate the taste of a simple home-cooked meal, and I microwaved the still-warm leftovers. Though not much of a ketchup fan, I once learned working for a restaurant chain that this plain condiment adds a quite bit of zest to meatloaf.

As I ate this delicious-but-humble meal, I considered the meal choices I could have made instead. These ranged from fast food to a meal at an inexpensive diner, but these options lacked an important ingredient: home. Even though my only companions were my canine friends (plus a daughter watching television in another room), this unadorned meal easily surpassed any food I might have ordered at a restaurant, and the meal at home siphoned no additional cash from my wallet.

Best of all, I did not have to wait for a table, listen to screaming babies, hear an obnoxious person at the next table debating the virtues of video cards, or deal with an indifferent server. The lowly slice of meatloaf brought me a level of satisfaction far above its simple ingredients, a synergistic combination of food, atmosphere, and love.

10 comments:

microdot said...

Lunch, October 25, 2008:
Grated raw beet salad with a simple vinagrette with mustard and a little curry powder to spice it up.
The raw beet (fome my garden) was mixed with orange slices and some of the juice.
To spice it up, a few handfuls of nasturtium blossoms from the flower garden...pretty to look at pretty to eat and pretty simple!
Oh, yesh, bread and cheese....

microdot said...

oops, I forgot the chopped parsley in the salad.

Mad Jack said...

Best of all, I did not have to wait for a table,

Just one? Well, it's going to be a while...

listen to screaming babies,

WHAAA! WHAAA! WHAAA! WHAAA!

... and so she said, 'What would I do? Me? I'd tell her.'

WHAAA! urgle-arf-tooey WHAAA!

He spit up.
I know. I think it's the new formula.

WHAAA!

hear an obnoxious person at the next table debating the virtues of video cards,

... got the new gee ee force 8800 with 256 bit PCI and direct ex ten ess ell eye, which is like so much better than the ninty five hundred 'cuz its only got like onetwennyeight PCI –
No way, dude!
Hey, we're talkin' all the way, dude.

or deal with an indifferent server.

The kitchen's really backed up right now but I'll go over and see about your order just as soon as I can.

The lowly slice of meatloaf brought me a level of satisfaction far above its simple ingredients, a synergistic combination of food, atmosphere, and love.

Thus proving the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Anonymous said...

How sad that the child who furnished your sustenance was precluded from sharing in your sage views...you might have taken the tyke upon your lap and told her how this worthy beast died so that daddy could have a hot meal straight from the microwave, which he neither prepared nor shared with any human companions. "Hinc illae lacrimae."

historymike said...

If you want to convert the red-meat eaters of the world to a vegan lifestyle, I suggest a different tactic than guilt.

Perhaps you could extoll the associated health benefits, or the virtues in eating more efficient sources of nutrients and proteins.

Mesat-guilt will not work with me. I was born and raised in a meat culture, and a few well-aimed barbs from vegans only result in resentment and resistance, not a desire to change my diet.

Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea.

historymike said...

"Meat-guilt," that should read.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend the Nicomachean Ethics if you wish to understand guilt, responsibility, and voluntary actions...a counter to your specious ruminations on the virtue of Midwestern dietary habits.

SensorG said...

Meat is murder! Tasty, tasty, murder…

Mad Jack said...

I work for a company that specializes in rodenticide. We have the better mousetrap.

We did a take off on a recent PETA commercial:

Cute Little Girl (CLG): Mommy, do we have to kill the little mouse?
Hot Looking Mom (HLM): No honey, there's room enough in this world for all of us. We'll just give the mouse to Mister Whiskers and let nature take its course.
Mister Whiskers: Purr! Purr!

In retaliation for the post by Anonymous Vegan, I'm going out pheasant hunting this season and plan to bag my limit. I may also go after a few Canadian Honkers. Smoked Honker is some seriously good eating.

Anonymous said...

In response to Mr. Mad Jack: I now understand how McCain is doing so well in rustbelt states despite the economic collapse and the war fiascos...you folks do turn to guns and religion when you are depressed. Chill out and have a glass of chablis (preferably French) before you shoot your buddy by mistake.