A good husband knows when not to criticize the food his wife makes. For some men that is 100 percent of the time. That's not true in my family though. I have always taken pride in the fact that I married someone that really knows how to cook. I mean she can make the worst leftovers taste great. But when she makes something new and it flops she is the first to admit it. I seldom say anything if I don't like it; I just eat one serving and go away to the bathroom to throw up. She knows the signs; the main one being that I eat one serving. It's just not like me to stay within reasonable bounds when it comes to amounts of food to consume.
But what about when it is your idea (as the husband) to try something new; something you have seen somewhere, something that looks appealing. And then after getting all the ingredients together and doing all the work to make it, it is a big flop. You have to ask yourself if the disaster was the way she fixed the dish, or is the fact that you have bad taste and don't know what you are talking about. I think it is the latter. Case in point. A cold green or red soup.
About 15 years ago I was at home watching one of those noon television news broadcasts where they have their little cooking segment. It was the middle of the summer and it was hot. My swamp cooler had recruited local squirrels to run in the fan cage to keep up with my demand for more air to keep the house at a temperature I like.
On the show came a lady who pointed out that cold soup will do for one in the summer what hot soup will do for one in the winter; take away the extreme feeling of temperature differences of the season. She had prepared these two cold soups; one was red and one was green.
The host of the show (a man) told the woman they were the best tasting cold soups he had ever had. They did look very appetizing on television and as they started to give out the recipe I started writing it down. I wasn't sure I got all the ingredients right, but I thought, what would it matter. What I missed couldn't make that much difference, could it?
Nowadays I would have just gone on-line and printed the recipe off their site and it would have been correct. Me writing it from the list on the television screen, well, not so much.
I called my wife at work and started ranting and raving about how good these soups looked. She said if I really wanted her to make them she would. So from my home office I faxed (you know that machine we used before email that sounded like someone was torturing small animals on the other end when it connected) her the recipe. She said she would go to the store on her way home and buy the stuff to make the brew.
I couldn't wait...it sounded sooooo good.
Cut to 6 p.m. that night. It was just as hot as it was at noon as we sat down with the cold prepared soup. My 12 year old son sat there and looked at it while he ate a potato chip. I took some of the green from the big bowl on the table. It looked very cool and refreshing. He took some of the red because he thought it looked like salsa.
Neither of us were correct in our assumptions. Mine tasted like green paste (it would have tasted like white paste, but it was, after all, green) and his tasted nothing like salsa. It was much like the taste of the blood of a turnip.
"Uh, this wasn't quite what I expected," I said looking at my wife who had just taken her first spoonful. "I expected, well something with some taste to it."
She gagged down her first dose, not yet ready to admit defeat in the preparation of such a labor intensive and might I add expensive ingredient type of liquid.
"Maybe the red is better," I reached for some.
"No it isn't and I haven't even tasted that slime you are eating," said my son.
We spent the next 10 minutes trying to gag down the rest of what was in our bowls. I kept getting more disappointed. It was a lot like leaving a used car lot with what you thought was such a great deal, but the closer you got to home you realized that it smoked like a coal furnace and that the temperature gauge was not stuck on hot as the salesman told you, but that the car's engine really was hot.
Yes, I'll admit it. I had buyer's remorse. My wife, who had just toiled over the untasting goo for a few hours put it in Tupperware containers, placed it in the fridge and said that maybe it would get better with age.
Yeah, right. Like that has happened to me as I got older. I have so many parts that don't work right now that they turned me down to be an organ donor the last time I got my drivers license.
After the containers were placed in the fridge and we fixed a real meal of hamburger sandwiches (I always wanted a chance to write that expression) and crisps (that too). I told her it wasn't her fault.
"I never thought it was," she said. "A bad meal that springs from your mind and then is prepared by this wife would never be my fault."
She had something there. I went back to my office and looked at the list of ingredients for the supposedly luscious brew. I wondered what was missing from the list and if I could find out, maybe the alien type liquids in the ice box could be repaired.
The next day I called the television station and asked if they could either send me the recipe or read it to me over the phone. I explained what had happened. The woman answering laughed. It wasn't a chuckle, but an outright laugh. I had the feeling she had heard this story before. She took my address and said she would forward it to me.
It never showed up in the mail. I took this as a sign. Never, ever, come up with or copy a recipe on your own, especially when you don't know the difference between a tsp. and a Tbs.
Leave those tasks to those who know how to feed you.