FEEDING THE FAMILY AIN’T EASY

It’s not that I mind the cooking, though on days like today when I find myself spending almost an entire day in the kitchen, I begin to wonder about my role in this world. But really, that’s not the problem. Nor is the ridiculously high prices for food the problem. It’s about what I need to feed the boys.

Garry, you see, is too thin. Owen is overweight. Garry needs to eat more and damn the calories, but Owen is determinedly following Weight Watchers. He has lost about 15 pounds, which is slow but steady. I have to figure out how to feed both of them.

Does anyone know how hard it is to feed one man who needs to gain wait and another who needs to lose it — at the same time? Forget about whatever I might want to eat. I’ll eat anything or nothing if I don’t like the food. But the laddies need the right food and I am the one providing it.

Today was not a good day for Owen because I use bacon instead of ham in the dish. Really, since I oversalted the Singapore noodles, so it was no one’s day. Way too salty. Tomorrow? Back to some kind of simple chicken with a side of vegetables.

It will be a huge relief to not have to cook something complicated. I don’t know why I do it. I don’t have to. I could do something easier, but I always feel at least on the weekends I should do something special. Is that an old-time wife thing?

Everything but the shrimp. Now I use bacon rather than ham.

Oh, and I also had to cook food for the Duke. We were down to his last container. I don’t think the Duke really appreciates me.

Here is the original recipe:



Categories: Anecdote, Cooking, Food, Humor

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29 replies

  1. I agree with the commentor above that the dish looks so tasty! What is it and how do you get the noodles that consistency? I have a packet that I need to use, but don’t want them gummy (the way they’ve gone before when I tried to cook them), and I suspect they’re pretty bland just as is…yours look like they might have a lovely saffron sauce or seasoning? I read somewhere recently that the secret to good rice noodles (Chinese noodles) is to boil them for a very few minutes (until they’re just tender) and then spread them out to ‘dry’ on a flat cookie sheet. If you don’t mind, share some tips! Or the recipe…it looks divine, although I would go with shrimp for my meat base as bacon is too salty for my preference and adds fat (which I don’t want).

    Great post! When hubby was alive I had to do that ‘feed the man’ dance. Make double portions of everything because he ate like a horse. I’d leave all the ‘icky to me’ vegetables out of whatever it was (onions, cooked peppers and tomatoes, cooked celery🤢 ) and let him add those after I’d taken my portion. I’d help him prep the veggies though. He liked a lot of spice too, which I’ve never been able to tolerate, so seasoning was up to him. My sympathies on having such diverse meal requirements to prepare. It must be taxing. I suspect, however, that you do that special meal on weekends because you enjoy cooking and you want them healthy, both of which I’d say are lovely motivations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay. Boil the noodles for THREE minutes. You can get away with two, but four is too many. Use a timer. If you overcook them, they turn to paste.

      Drain immediately into a colander. RINSE THOROUGHLY WITH COLD WATER. The noodles should be cold when you are finished rinsing

      Put them in a bowl and add a dollop (a few tablespoons) of oil. Use more if you want. You’re going to need oil later anyway. I use sesame oil (if I have any) or vegetable oil, not olive oil. Mix it up with your hands. NOW it’s ready to be turned into food. You can cook these in the morning and leave them out until dinner. Just occasionally mix them with you hands.

      When you are ready to eat, fry some chopped up (f you have a mini chopper, you can use it and save some time — just don’t turn them into paste!) vegetables: scallions, a quarter of an onion (if you don’t like onion, find something you DO like or it will be tasteless), 1/2 finely chopped bell pepper (NOT green — any other color), snow peas, chopped broccoli or cauliflower — even green beans. Really, whatever you have you can use. I really like vegetables — almost all of them. Garry won’t eat peas or cut corn, but he will eat corn on the cob. What? Most Curry powder you buy is NOT hot. You have to work hard to find really hot curry powder and I don’t like the taste of hot curry powder, so I don’t use it. I use a TINY amount of hot pepper — like an eighth of a teaspoon. You don’t really taste it, but it changes the way the dish tastes. Salt to taste. Pepper (I use white pepper, it’s milder) to taste. This is a dish to which you have to add something or it’s just noodles.

      Remove the vegetables. Wipe out the pan, add more oil. Add 1 or 2 beaten eggs. Let them cook for 10-20 seconds, then flip them over. It’ll look like an eggy pancake. Remove the egg, wipe out the pan.

      Add oil. Throw in the noodles. Add spices (garlic powder/chopped), a tablespoon or two of curry powder, and a quarter of a cup of soy sauce. Dry white wine — a few tablespoons. Mix it until it’s more or less one color. Since all my pans are non-stick, I have nylon tools so I don’t scratch everything, but if you are using metal, anything will work. Tear the egg into pieces. Add to noodles. Add the vegetables. Mix it up. Might need some salt and/or pepper, depending on the soy sauce you used. You can add turmeric for the health benefits, but to my mind, turmeric has no flavor but it sure does stain everything yellow. Wear an apron. Curry powder and turmeric permanently stain clothing. You’ll NEVER get the stains out.

      Eat. It’s surprisingly low in fat and if you use a “healthy” oil (canola? corn? vegetable?) or sesame (tastes really good, but I buy just a little at a time — it’s expensive). If you have leftover ham or chicken or really any cold meat, you can add that, too.

      I don’t use the egg because I use a lot of FROZEN uncooked shrimp (I buy it when it’s on sale) and you can take out just as much as you are likely to eat and keep the rest frozen. Buy uncooked frozen shrimp if you can. It’s much better than the cooked frozen shrimp and it takes the same 1-2 minutes to fry, but doesn’t shrink into tiny pieces like pre-cooked shrimp does. I also substitute bacon for the ham and it tastes WAY better than the ham. You can just leave the ham out entirely and you’ll never miss it. I buy one package of bacon and use it a quarter of a package at a time — and that’s for 3 people, so one package of bacon can last you quite a while. I cut it crosswise. Small pieces are way easier to cook and I fry them in a pot rather than a pan to keep the oil from spreading all over the kitchen.

      You can do almost anything using rice noodles as the base. The one thing you should buy is soy sauce. It’s kind of essential to any oriental cooking and it tastes pretty good as a nice, salty sauce. You can use a tiny bit of hot pepper, if you like.

      This is the original recipe.

      ORDER OF THE DAY: SINGAPORE NOODLES

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh thank you so much!! ❤ I adore those noodles and will take your advice and try prepping some and see how they come out, but I'll get some sesame oil I think first. How do the flavored oils work? I see oil with herb infusions (basil, thyme, oregano, and others I'm not recalling), as well as with seeds (like sesame). I'll have to nip to the Liquor Store and get a small bottle of dry white wine. I actually have three sizable bottles in my fridge that I've never opened because God forbid someone smells *gasp!* alcohol on someone else's breath. The tongues would never cease wagging. Those bottles are well aged now and I wonder if they haven't turned to vinegar. I ought to just leave them by a bus bench or something so the army of homeless who have decided living up here is a great idea (some of them are alcohols, some drug addicts and some mentally ill) could have them if they wanted. I can't drink alcohol now even if I wanted to. Too many meds. I will take your advice to heart, because as stated I love these noodles and can think of fifty ways (ingredients) to pair them with! Yum! 🤗😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Melanie, what’s with the tongue wagging over a nip of wine? Are you in the land of tee-totalers?

          Like

        • Sesame oil is actually made from sesame seeds, so it isn’t flavored. It tastes like sesame just like olive oil tastes a little bit like olives. Most of the infused flavored oils are pretty good. Rosemary oil is delicious, by the way and you can make it yourself. One of the reasons I cook so much is that it’s cheaper to make the food than to buy it “pre” made. I also buy oils that are least likely to burn, which is why I will will use canola rather than olive. Olive burns pretty quickly.

          Chinese food is usually cooked on a VERY hot stove, so having oil that won’t burn matters. I use olive oil for other foods, but not when I have to super-heat the pan.

          If you are creative, you’ll find ways to make the noodles good. I’ve noticed that Asian people eat them as often as not just with a bit of oil, soy sauce, and chopped up scallions. You can make a single pork chop into two dinners if you get good at cutting meat into small pieces. That’s what Chinese cooking was all about: making protein stretch to feed a lot more people since meat of any kind was hard to come by in ye olde China. I think they invented famine.

          Like

          • Thanks Marilyn. I’m going to take that ‘no burn oil’ into account. I only have olive oil and I’m leery of frying things in it because it does burn quickly. I use cast iron pans, but am going to invest some money in a proper wok. I never found that kind of pan burned anything, but it did sauté to a lovely finish. And seemed less greasy or oily as well. Thanks for this invaluable information!

            Like

    • Melanie, I eat as MUCH as I can eat and I usually CLEAN my plate by the time we are finished with dinner (I still hear echoes of Mom, “Think of the starving children in Mongolia..”)

      I don’t eat as much I did when I was younger but I am not starving myself. I listen to my body as I (slowly) eat. When it says “enough”, I stop.

      Yes, I’m thin/thinner and, yes, I like looking thinner but it’s not ego driven. It’s my metabolism.

      I even munch later in the evening and usually have a cream cheese on cinnamon bread ‘sammich’ as I lay in bed watching my bedtime movie.

      One other note: I still DETEST lima beans. I told it to the Marines and I shout it to the world.

      So let it be written, so let it be done.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We all have our must avoid at all cost foods. Mine are leeks, shallots, onions; but bearing in mind the flavor thing I’ll use a wee amount of freeze dried finely chopped onion if I want the flavor. Lima beans are something I can leave or take, although I haven’t eaten any for decades (remember the frozen veggie mixes in the 70s?) My father loved all sorts of beans and Ma made lima beans with ham a time or two and they were okay. It’s hard to ruin them. I agree with your ‘diet’ regime and am having to embrace it myself as eating too much is wasted effort now. You are indeed blessed to have a good cook for a wife. They’re a vanishing breed these days I think. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Melanie, I truly appreciate Marilyn’s culinary skills and always say “thank you” in addition to other praise as I’m eating. Owen also has his Mom’s cooking skills. So, I am twice blessed and ACKNOWLEDGE it.

          For me, eating is not the event* it used to be when I was younger. Marilyn (and Owen) are very creative in their cooking and, again, I am a most grateful beneficiary.

          Yes, I’ve come a long way from the Spam and baked beans regimen of my bachelor days. A most happy and contented fella, I am.

          *it’s an EVENT when we having Japanese cuisine. More sashimi, please.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sashimi is a treat. When I was younger (and my appetite, like yours hadn’t toned itself down to the faint imitation it is now) I worked a part time job at night setting the advertisement pages at the Salt Lake Tribune. On the corner was a little Japanese ‘drive thru’ which featured surprisingly authentic Japanese cooking. I got addicted to sashimi through that experience. I was very disappointed when they closed up shop. It probably wasn’t top of the range, but it was still so good! Good times! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. That does sound challenging! I have a husband who can eat anything and not gain weight! While I try to eat healthily he would happily do the opposite. He tolerates the recipes I favour, even when it’s his turn to cook, but he’s always happy when I’m out for the evening and he can indulge himself with a burger or pie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Try this. Even if HE doesn’t like it, you probably will. I don’t use ham — I use bacon. I gave up on the eggs.

      I fed Garry malted milk and he FINALLY put on 10 pounds. I still outweigh him by 30 pounds and I’m not fat. He thinks he’s fine. I think he’s scrawny and at least 10 pounds thinner than he should be, but he’s not a good listener.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Toonsarah, I’ve been the fall guy for my food dislikes. But truth be told, I only have a few “nah” dishes.
      Lima beans, loose corn, peas, butter and one or two that I can’t recall as I write.

      I watch my diet so I don’t binge on caloric stuff. I am still a sucker for desserts and, more recently, frappes and malteds made by the wonderful Owen, Recently, I had one of my senior moments. I consumed a post dinner double scoop of ice cream and then said ‘yes’ to a Malted Offering. That was a MISTAKE.

      Marilyn and Owen are wonderful cooks. I believe I show my gratitude by almost always cleaning my plate. There’s NUTHIN left for the beggar dog, Duke.

      My weak point: Sashimi. I’ll just keep eating and eating and eating until the rising sun has set.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. it is an ongoing challenge to balance all the needs at the same time. maybe give Gary a double batch of whatever Owen is eating each day and add some bread or rice on the pile?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can relate to this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This dish looks delicious. What is it???

    Like

    • Singapore Noodles. I’ve made some changes: ham to bacon, forget the eggs, use raw (but shelled and deveined) frozen shrimp — and sesame oil. Boil the noodles JUST 3 MINUTES, then drain, rinse with cold water, put in a bowl, and mix with oil. After that, you can leave them to wait until you are ready to cook. If it’s really hot, refrigerate. Usually, I just leave them on the counter and whenever I’m in the kitchen, I stick my hand in the bowl and mix them. DON’T overcook them. They are inedible. Also, the REAL Chinese noodles from China are MUCH MUCH better than the “locally made” stuff. It’s also cheaper. I order it on Amazon. In this case, made in China is EXACTLY what you want. Thick or thin noodles, take your pick. 6 ounces will feed three people with leftovers. 8 ounces will feed for — with even MORE leftovers. It’s a great leftover.

      This is the original recipe.

      ORDER OF THE DAY: SINGAPORE NOODLES

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Marilyn. After i left Zoe at the vet for her surgery, I went to the store and bought noodles and bought 4 different prepared sauces or mixes.And veggies. I’ll let you know how they turn out. When i got home I saw your recipe…Thanks. I was going to ask for it. Zoe seems to have come through her surgery well. Everyone at the vet’s office was in love with her. She seems perfectly content. She’s sleeping now and can have food and water in half an hour. Much smaller incision than I’d expected. She is happily lounging in her bed.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think they use lasers now just like on people. I’ve had a lot of dogs spayed and never had a problem. If there’s one surgery every vet known how to perform, spaying has gotta be “it.”

          The most important part of dealing with noodles is NOT cooking them longer than 3 minutes and 2 will do in a pinch, then rinsing them thoroughly with cold water, drain completely, put in bowl, add oil and mix your finger because a fork doesn’t do it. The rest is a matter of taste, so as long as you don’t overcook the noodles, you’re good to go. I know the bag says to soak them in hot water, but when every I’ve tried it, I wind up with a bowl of rice glue. I’ve actually had to toss them. They were inedible.

          While this is a “named dish,” you can really make it however you want. Rice noodles are low in carbs and they come in all kinds of widths. I order mine from Amazon because they come from China and I haven’t found local ones to be nearly as good. You may have better luck there. This is one of those times when “made in China” is exactly what you want. They know how to make rice noodles better than anyone, including the Koreans and Japanese versions.

          Like

  6. Hi Marilyn, I read your post with some amusement. It seems the issue of what to make for dinner crosses oceans and age groups. I have a mother who hates spicy food, a husband and father who love spicy food and hate bland food, a skinny son who’ll eat everything except fish, and a tummy son who is trying to diet. Hubby has high cholesterol, I have high blood pressure and dad is on blood thinners. No, it is not easy trying to cook for a family. Hugs.

    Like

    • I’m always trying to figure out what to cook two days ahead so it will have time to defrost. I often wonder why I went to college. I should have gone to cooking school. Owen also doesn’t like fish or shellfish, Garry can’t heat hot food anymore. Owen weighs about 40 pounds more than he should even given his size (6’3″) and Garry is at least 10 pounds underweight (I think more like 20, but I’d settle for 10). Super thin isn’t flattering. He just looks sickly.

      Duke tends to make out VERY well on leftovers!

      Liked by 1 person

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