From age 21 to 44, I lived on take-out food.
In the beginning, it was cool to order during a late-night at the office especially since I couldn’t afford to eat that way if I were actually paying for it. Then I had dreams of eating tuna fish out of a can over my kitchen sink if only I could be at home at dinner time. And then I realized that I never had time to be in my kitchen, much less clean my kitchen, so I really wouldn’t want to eat anything in there. The dream remained, even though interrupted from time to time by reality.
At some point, I was living with someone who cooked (pre-POB (partner of blogger)) and the food was good but hard on my digestive track. And before the days of blackberries and remote access, I had to go to the office with my intestines in a twist. So, as a matter of honor and sacrifice to my colleagues, I was forced to stay late and eat Shun Lee and other take-out so that I didn’t smelled of garlic or other spices anymore than anyone else. In typical blogger family fashion, it was, in fact, the least I could do.
When POB came along and beepers were available, we would work long hours, meet at the gym, have a little falafel and hummus with hot sauce that tested our abs of steel — in a slightly different way. We learned that some days were more — how do you say? — microbial than others. But these are the sacrifices we make to “have it all”.
Then came TLP (our son, the little prince) and there was no time for sleep, let alone cooking or even eating. Exhaustion won over hunger every time, except when we absolutely, positively needed energy. “Don’t talk with your mouth full” became “don’t-sleep-with-your-mouth-full-because-I-am-too-tired-to-do-the-Heimlich-and-I-can’t-stand-the-smell-of-whatever-you’re-eating.” As many of you will remember, love is an emotion that is felt but not expressed when you have a newborn.
Then, came the Great Recession. Time for family and friends. Time for hanging out. Time to have our families over for Sunday night dinners. POB decided after a while that she would rather cook than order another dinner from Saigon Grill (and we were supposed to be boycotting them anyway for labor violations). So, she started cooking. And she didn’t stop.
And the take-out stopped and the cook-in began. POB cooked, I cleaned. When she needed to prove a point, she dirtied every pot and utensil in the house. Point taken and respect paid. Harmony restored. Paradise, momentarily lost, was regained. A possible script for a Sunday night movie, although no one is dead or psychotic — yet. (I’ll get back to you on this.)
Tonight, these many years later, we are companionably cobbling together dinner from the fridge — cold carrot soup with cumin and lime, quinoa with tomatoes, onions and black beans, a salad and some wine. A perfect repast for a hot summer’s night. And our kitchen is cozy (yet cool thanks to air-conditioning) and inviting.
Take-out was my food source for over 20 years. I don’t miss it at all. And now we have a kitchen in which I would eat tuna out of a can just to be home with my family.
And to think, she still wants to marry me next year.