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November 8, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Domestic Semi-Hilarity

I’ll never forget the time my son took off his diaper and smeared the contents all over the walls and carpet of his room, thirty minutes before the realtor was to arrive with potential buyers.  Ahh, memories.  It’s days like that when I feel that species that eat their young might be on to something. 

Other times, it feels as if your entire family is trying to make you insane, instead of just one.  Today was one of those days.  Tomorrow is a workday for me, and next weekend is a work weekend for me, so today my husband got the “day off.”  Yes, you read that right.  See, watching kids is a very hard job, and since he will be doing that tomorrow and next weekend, he got a pre-vacation today.  I’ll let you ponder that, but in the meantime I’ll continue my tale of today’s futility.

My daughter has a diaper rash…a very severe diaper rash, the kind of diaper rash you don’t want anyone outside the family to see, because you suspect that if anyone else saw the diaper rash, they would call Child Protective Services on you for letting a diaper rash of that magnitude to occur on a human butt.  She’s taking antibiotics for an ear infection, and without getting too colorful I’ll just say that her innards are virtually an acidic assembly line.  The best cure for this is to let baby roam naked as much as possible.  Even when you have a nice white rug in the living room.

I decided to be as efficient as possible today.  As one child cried and pooped on the carpet, and the other child whined about how long the frozen pizza was taking, I made a list of all the things I wanted to get accomplish.  “Sesame Street” was on in the background.  I looked up at the screen as I made the list.  An Asian family sat around the table eating the most delicious looking food I have seen in a while.  You know how Sesame Street likes to show other cultures, presumably to make children ready for a diverse world?  Maybe that works on kids, but all it did for me was give me a serious craving for Thai food.  Bozeman has zilch for Thai food, which to me is worse than if it made all of its residents have jury duty once a week. 

So I decided that I was going to make Thai food for dinner.  I have a good assortment of Thai cookbooks, but no one ever has ingredients for Thai meals…at least all at once.  So I added the ingredients of a recipe to my list, “Red Curried Pork.”  The picture looked delightful, and the ingredients were the kind my husband would eat.  I have to watch for this when cooking.  Coconut is not an option.  Peppers are right out.  Forget eggplant.  And ginger is also a big no-no.  As you can imagine, this makes it really hard to cook Thai food.  This recipe had none of the above, except for just a wee bit of ginger, so I thought it would work. 

But first we had to go to Target to buy a birthday present for “Sam,” a preschool friend, who turns five tomorrow.  My son, baby and I wandered up and down the aisles of a very crowded Target looking to knock off as many things from the list as possible before hitting the uber-expensive grocery store.  (I had to go to the uber-expensive grocery, because no one else carries Thai basil and shallots)  Since we were birthday shopping for Sam, that meant heading to the dreaded Toy Section. 

Kids go berserk in the toy section.  It can’t just be all that plastic and glitter, can it?  I am convinced that corporate megastores install microwave transmitters behind the stacks and stacks of Legos, just to ensure that everyone loses their minds in the toy section.  Today was no exception.  My son, thankfully, doesn’t cry.  He knows that the Rules At The Store are NO CRYING OR MOTHER WILL TURN INTO A RABID, CHILD EATING VOLCANO OF MADNESS.  Oh no, he doesn’t cry.  He negotiates.  He will make an excellent lawyer, or possibly a politician someday.  He found all kinds of toys for Sam, and tried to convince me that we would have to take them home first and thoroughly test them ourselves.  When I explained why that wouldn’t work, he made me promise that we would go to Sam’s house very soon to play with the toys we were getting him.  My son got a mountain of toys for his fourth birthday, which was just last week, but apparently he has already forgotten.  Spoiled turkey.  Don’t worry, I make him do more chores than any other four year old I know. 

We were shopping for cards to add to the package when he spotted it: it was orange, it looked potentially dangerous.  He yelped, “Mommy!  Can I PLEASE have that D?” 

D?

He ran over to grab the “D.”  It was a protractor.  He gave me the Look, the Look that says I will die if I do not get this please mommy get this for me or I can’t possibly live another day.  I checked the price.  Two bucks.  This is one of the many reasons I love my son.  We made it through the toy section without getting him anything, but he was ready to throw himself into traffic for the love of a protractor.  Deal!

He wanted to skip the grocery store to go home and play with his new “D” but I still needed to get my Red Curried Pork ingredients.  We went to the store and shopped.  I pulled out my list, to find that somehow during the day it had been ripped in half. 

I had half a list; half the ingredients needed for Red Curried Pork.  I squeezed my brain as hard as I could to remember what was on there.  Shallots.  I knew I needed shallots.  What the hell is a shallot?  For as much as I love cooking, I have never, ever purchased a shallot.  I discovered them near the onions.  If you don’t know what a shallot looks like, just imagine if an onion and a garlic got locked in a romantic cabin together during a blizzard in February.  Nine months later you would have a shallot.

I had to get cilantro, limes, and ginger, as well as thin egg noodles.  I already had soy sauce and fish sauce at the house.  Fish sauce.  Ugh.  I hate the idea of fish sauce, but Thai food isn’t Thai food without it.  Do you know what fish sauce is?  It’s just what it sounds like.  They make olive oil by pressing olives and squeezing the bejesus out of them, right?  Fish sauce is made the same way…except instead of olives, they use fermented anchovies.  They squeeze the bejesus out of those, and voila!  Fish sauce.  I have to block this out of my mind when I cook.  I pretend that fish sauce is the sauce that fish like to put on their pork loin when they go to dinner parties.

Anyway, once you get all the ginger and the limes and the chili paste and the fish sauce cooking together, it really starts to smell good.  So good, in fact, that my husband came down from his office and asked when dinner would be ready.  I was madly chopping cilantro, boiling noodles, and prepping my special noodle bowls.  The only thing I had missed from my half-list was scallions, but we could manage without them.  I tried to look for Thai beer, but they didn’t have any.  My point of all this is that I was working really, really hard to make a special dinner on this Saturday, my husband’s day off.  The house was clean, the dinner was ready, it was all coming together.

So we sat down to eat.  I have to tell you, it was delicious.  Delicious.  A pile of red curried pork atop a bed of tender, long egg noodles.  The craving of the day had been satisfied.  I asked my husband what he thought:

“Pretty good.  It’s like Asian chili mac.”

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6 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Leslie / Dec 14 2008 10:04 pm

    I think our husbands must share the same DNA. 🙂 Wonderful blog. Enjoyed reading it! And to think I only found it because I typed in, “What the hell is a shallot?” in my Google search box. LOL!

    I am just glad that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what a shallot was 🙂

  2. pikespeakdenise / Nov 14 2008 5:30 am

    I have been eating Thai noodles-in-a-box you recommended awhile back. I am excited about AJ’s “D.” I should get one for my desk. 😉

  3. teeni / Nov 10 2008 7:59 am

    Asian chili-mac? After all that work? LOL. When is the divorce? 😉 What an adventure! Love that your son only wanted a “D.” Has he made anything with it?

    All kinds of things! He is going through a serious drawing phase. He fills up notebooks and notebooks with art. Sigh. I thought the “Asian Chili Mac” was delicious.

  4. crisitunity / Nov 10 2008 6:39 am

    You’re actually botanically correct about shallots – they are a cross between garlic and onions. Learned that from Alton Brown. 🙂

    Your husband is ridiculous, especially if he doesn’t like coconut. At least he thought it was yummy…

    Really? I was just guessing, but that makes sense. Because that is exactly what they look like. And I love onions and garlic so I guess I love shallots twice as much.

  5. Ian / Nov 8 2008 10:58 pm

    My wife needs to quit watching Good Eats with Alton Brown if she’s not actually going to COOK any of these things she keeps writing down recipes for. The other night she watched one about pad thai while I was trying to write and by the end I couldn’t think of anything except noodles and peanuts and lime and cilantro. Now I’m hungry all over again.

    Glad your dinner turned out well.

  6. morethananelectrician / Nov 8 2008 9:03 pm

    If I knew your husband I would tell him to “steer clear”…she’s ready to “blow”!

That's what she said!

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