Grocery shopping and meal planning are the bane of my existence, that along with
- Cooking (were talking the short order stuff not the good stuff like coffee cake muffins)
- Paying bills
I have yet to find my happy place with all things that have the element of predictability and the mundane. And just when I think I can’t possible buy one more bottle of salad dressing life throws me a bone or a steak in this case.
Meet my new friend.
Andre is a butcher at my local Whole Foods Market and now my personal motivational speaker. Last week I made a trip to Whole Foods because a) I was craving somosas (they have self serve Indian food!!) b) Costco gas is right next door and c) so is Pinkberry (that’s a modchik trifecta right there). Never mind that dinner hour was quickly approaching and I showed up without a plan or my usual list.
I stood at the counter drooling over these glorious cuts of meat. Mind you I am not a huge meat girl but there is something about an aged Prime New York that makes my skirt fly up! I scanned the case. Feeling broke I quickly shot down the fantasy of grilling up a couple $29/lb. prime steaks darn and man if those don’t have the most beautiful fat marbling today… moving on. Ok quickly searching my mental recipe Rolodex, I’m sure there is an app for that. I draw a blank on what to make with the more let’s say “economical”cuts of meat. This is where Andre comes into the picture, he can see my face all twisted confused by all different cuts splayed out in front of me.
A: What can I get you young lady (he gets bonus points for not calling me ma’am)
me: I don’t know I really want a prime strip but …. I’m on more of a flank steak budget. What about this (pointing to the top sirloin)
A: Depends what are you making?
me: ummmm.. I dunno I guess a steak salad, so something thin BUT it can not be tough! I point to the top sirloin again.
A: No you don’t want that trust me you want this (points to the beef loin skirt).
me: But it’s less expensive so that means its gonna be like eating a leather shoe right? I don’t do chewy.
A: (laughing) you can get whatever you like but I’m telling you this is what you want.
Now at this point a little voice inside my head says don’t look back, you can never look back… no no no I’m kidding that’s a Don Henley song (tangent alert) the voice reminds me that HE is the BUTCHER not I. Trust the butcher.
I order a pound of the skirt steak, Andre noddingly approves. “I will do you one better you say you are making a strip steak salad?” Andre proceeds to cut a my steak in perfect strips carefully packaging each layer within sheets of paper.
A: Lindsey, let me ask you this…. do you consider yourself a good cook or a graa……
me: GREAT COOK!! I really did sound like I was on a game show.
A: (laughing) how did I know you were going to say that. How did you learn to cook?
me: I grew up in a home where my mother cooked almost every meal and from scratch (translation no tuna helper). Most of things I cook today are the same things I ate growing up more or less.
A: Your husband must love you for that.
me: He does and he tells me everytime I cook. He says a lot of the times my food is BETTER than restaurant food, which of course you and I know sadly that’s not that hard to achieve these days.
A:I know why he says that. Its because your food has soul. If you love what you do then it comes through in your food.
me: Oh trust me Andre I don’t always love to cook especially when I’m making that 100th pot of penne for my kids that will inevitably tell me I either over or under cooked it. (by the way this is how you tell if its done)
A: It doesn’t matter what you are cooking Lindsey its the fact that you have great memories of cooking with your mother and that love of the time together carries through to your own cooking. Trust me I cook and I know my wife can tell when I gave extra attention to that sauce or whatever I made. Good cooks cook with love.
me: you give a whole new meaning to the phrase “eating your feelings“.
me: nothing… inside joke.
And with that little ‘intervention’ I was on my way strip steak in hand.
I hate to think that I could lose my Joy for Cooking at any moment but it happens. What do you do to keep yourself engaged and happy in the kitchen? I think the newer trend to doctor up somewhat prepared foods from places like Trader Joe’s is probably single handily responsible for the fact that we don’t eat out half as much as we used to. Baking on the other hand? Never a problem, this family could live on Plum buckle and Cocoa Apple cake alone. We love our carbs.
You know I love to receive recipes from readers, do have something that you think the world needs to know about? Why not share you can email it to Lindsey(at)themodchik(dot)com or use the contact page.
Recipe for the Skirt Steak Salad is here.