The (Not So) Sneaky Chef

Since you heard from me last, I’ve been seeing a nutritionist in hopes of developing an eating regime that will carry me healthily throughout my life, and one of the first things to go from my daily diet was gluten. Having recently eaten my way across Italy (AKA gluten-central), news that I must give pasta, bread, potatoes, etc (as I know and love them) the heave-ho was devastating. But, hey, if it works, I’ll give it a try. I’m also supposed to bid ciao, bello to vino, but, um… yeah… some days are better than others on that front! I’m only human after all!

I have, however, been largely “good” when it comes to gluten, though I’m sure I accidentally consume it on a regular basis in food prepared by others, but when it comes to my own kitchen, I’ve been rather successful at creating a gluten-free zone. This has not been without challenges. A) I love carbs. Like, as in, if you were to ask me “well, if you love them so much, why don’t you marry them?” I would probably respond “I will if it becomes legal and only if cheese doesn’t ask me first.” B) Most of the rest of the world eats these delicious goodies, which isn’t a problem if I’m around my fave treats, but it does present an issue when trying to prepare a satisfying meal for others.

Which brings me to last night.

Mom and Dad are in the midst of Kitchen Demolition 2011, and there’s nary a cooking surface or utensil in sight. They quickly became weary of dining out and were none too shy about extending invitations for them to come to my place. Well, of course I want to be with them and provide a home-cooked meal, but my schedule doesn’t always allow for that. However, this Monday I decided to throw them a life raft in the form of dinner. As soon as Mom hungrily said yes, I thought, well, crap, what am I going to make them? Mom is low-maintenance. I could make her a tuna sandwich, and she would be grateful. Dad, on the other hand, needs some man-food. I quickly did a mental scan of my kitchen contents and decided I’d make them some pasta — regular pasta for the gluten-tolerant, and brown rice pasta for me.

Well, my mental scan failed me. I didn’t have enough regular pasta to go around, but I had a full package of gluten-free pasta. In reviewing the package and its assurances that the contents within were not mushy (it really reads as such), I thought, heck, let’s give it a go. Surely it’s safe for the whole family!

So the moment arrives. Mom and Dad are on the way over, and I’m bustling around my kitchen preparing sauce (97% fat-free turkey, yellow onion, garlic and some store-bought sauce I had on hand), roasted broccoli; roasted onion, zucchini, squash and Chinese eggplant; sauteed spinach with fried garlic; and a rustic Greek salad. I have my pasta pot boiling, and when my dad isn’t looking, I dump in the faux noodles, purposely placing the package face down on the counter so no one would see what was up. Then, I turn my back to the pot to continue chopping. I see my dad out of the corner of my eye move towards the pasta pot. I hear plastic wrap crinkling between his fingers as he examines the package, and I turn around… “nooooooooooo!!!!” I exclaimed. “You’re not supposed to see that!!!” Dad just kinda shrugs, resigned to his fate of a potentially mushy meal, and wanders out of my hot kitchen. (I should note here that my dad is an EXCELLENT cook, and thus my anxiety was particularly heightened at wanting to please his honed palate.)

A few moments later, we’re seated around the table and have been joined by my fella, who, like my dad, also prefers substantive man-food. I take a tentative bite of the pasta, and instantly feel relieved. *I* love it. In fact, I immediately prefer it to the store-bought pasta I’m used to, and am reminded of the pasta I made while in Italy. I start to giggle like Beavis and Butthead, and ask the table: “Heh. Hehehe. do you like… hehehe… the pasta? Hee hee hee.” Dad looks nervous. He’s the only one in the know. Finally, he takes a bite. Adds some pepper. Looks up, and says:

“Darlin’, it’s awesome.”

4 thoughts on “The (Not So) Sneaky Chef

  1. I’m sure your pasta was delish, and I’m quite impressed that you just happen to have Chinese eggplant and rustic Greek salad materials lying about in your kitchen.

    1. Wow! I was just going for entertaining, but I’ll take inspiring! Do give it a try; I’m curious to know how you feel. I will say that my mind is much clearer without gluten in my diet. Plus, I’m able to turn up my nose a lot easier when some of my old faves are in front of me.

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