COOKING WITH A PARTNER
For someone like myself or my partner, it is a no brainer. We both love to cook. While dating, we took turns cooking for each other. When he told me that he makes a "mean chili" then I was ready to take him on. Actually, I believed no one could make it better than I did. Same thing with spaghetti or lasagna. Wrong on all occasions. This man had no limits...ah-ha...until you got to the real Southern dishes. The kind that my Grandmother passed down to me. Then, I had him. Same thing for him. There was no way that I even wanted to eat something called Yorkshire Pudding, much less know how to cook it. Beef Wellington? Not in my recipe book! Definitely not Bangers and Mash, Toad in the Hole, or Welsh Rarebit. And this is really just a grilled cheese sandwich with a little HP sauce. The first time he told me that he would make me a typical British breakfast I was truly excited. Well, I was about the way he prepared the eggs and I loved the tomatoes and mushrooms thrown in on the side. But no thank you to the baked beans and the British kind of sausage and bacon and let's not even get into the black pudding. (Don't ask me what it is and I won't tell.)The sausage and bacon have totally different flavors than ours. Plus, I love my bacon very crispy.
British breakfast with all the trimmings.
When our son lived with us, he did comment that we should open a restaurant and call it The Brit and the Belle. It would have the best of the UK and the South.
Both of us have taught each other the best of the best of both cultures. For me, it was a matter of the language. Yorkshire pudding is not pudding at all. Well, it is baked pudding made from a batter of eggs, flour, and milk. It comes out to a crispy pastry cup that can be filled with onion gravy alone or with bits of roast in it. It soon became one of my favorites.
Until I was educated on some of these dishes, I had planned on living on Fish and Chips while in the UK and sometimes a good Chinese take out or Indian chicken curry. These little shops are up and down the streets. Most of them very good. Going into a pub and having a real British beer has become one of my favorites, but that is the only place I want my beer warm. Here in the states it had better be served ice cold. Not sure what the reasoning is behind that. It is what it is.
When Steve asked me if I was going to make roast potatoes with the roast I was making, I looked at him as if why would you ask such a question. My grandmother always did it on Sunday Roast day. I put in all of the usual veggies to cook with the roast, except when he saw it, he did not know what to say or do. So he just laughed when he asked if that was truly what I thought roast potatoes were? He could not make any up right then. It is a rather long process. The next time we had a roast, he made the roast potatoes. I have never tasted something so heavenly ever. Not that my Grandmother's were bad. They were in two different categories. No comparison! The English version is first cooked in potato pieces in water, let alone to cool, then placed in a very hot oven with shortening in the dish and baked until golden. The outside is crispy and the inside is so perfectly soft.
His stories turn out to be about the same. He was over to Memphis for a business trip where he was staying at The Peabody. He ordered a typical breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon and he saw this scoop of white stuff on the side. He asked what it was. The server told him that would be grits. Some guests liked to salt them, some preferred a bit of sugar and always a little more butter. He did take a bite and could not believe that people ate this stuff. Even at The Peabody, they serve grits in like an ice cream scooper and plop them on your plate. NO, no, no, no. That is not the proper way to serve grits. That was a long time ago. I am sure that they serve them differently now. (I hope!) My story for this culinary delight is that I invited Steve over for an Easter dinner with my Mother and daughter. As we passed the dishes around the table I announced what each one was. Not knowing his Peabody story, I noticed a worried look on his face. His polite and gentle personality did have him take the spoon and get a small amount for his plate. (Notice that I said 'spoon' not an 'an ice cream scooper.') Everything else he was fine with. It was a typical American Easter Dinner. Ham, green bean casserole, cheese grits, carrot souffle and biscuits. Two of the items he had not eaten the way I had cooked them were the cheese grits and carrots. The carrot souffle never but he knew he liked carrots and of course green beans and ham. No problem. I will give him credit. He did take a bite of the grits. Then I saw a smile. He finished what was on his plate and asked if he may have a little more of the cheese grits. He shared the story of his first encounter of grits. I told him no wonder! I could not even eat grits that way unless I had a lot of butter and salt.
Cheese Grits which can also be made with a touch of jalapenos baked in to give a little kick to it.
Once we were an item and cooking a lot of meals together, we just fell into place of taking turns being the chef or else the sous chef. The sous chef not only has ingredients washed, prepared for cutting and measuring units out along with the proper bowls and pans. Also they help to clean up along the way. In our kitchen the sous chef also helps by reading out the recipe as we go along.
There is no way that we plan on opening our own restaurant, although we do give credit to our son for having such a creative idea. Way too much work and we enjoy our evenings together. Not in a restaurant working, not even in our own.