Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Reluctant Omnivore

This is Matt.  You know him, my husband that loves Swedish Meatballs and frying pan-sized steaks and breakfast burritos bursting at the tortilla seams.  He's not big into veggies, especially squashes.  He hates squashes.  Butternut, acorn, yellow, zucchini... I've been creamy fall soup-starved because I hate to make a huge Le Creuset pot's worth for just me.  He also doesn't really like peaches, but that's an atrocity to discuss at another time.

We make compromises.  I'll grill up steak, but couscous salad's coming on the side.  He's always got a pantry full of Rice a Roni and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese he can make if he's not into it.  We've made some breakthroughs, like those veggie burgers we both love.  He'll eat shrimp pasta primavera (provided there's not too much lemon in it; I keep an extra half to squeeze all over my plate).  But I really didn't think I'd see the day that he'd be open to relishing in squash.

Last night we went with my parents to the Canby Grand Station, home of that parmesan soup I loved so much.  Our entrees (Matt's meatloaf and my cedar-plank salmon) both came with a sauteed medley of vegetables that included onions, red bell pepper and... zucchini.  Instead of discreetly scooting it over to the corner, Matt decided to give it a try.  This isn't uncommon; a lot of times it's someone besides me that has to convince him of the wonderfulness of certain things, like sushi crab rolls (GOD DAMN IT OF COURSE THEY'RE DELICIOUS!!!!!!  Why did you have to wait for a coworker to tell you so!??).  "These veggies are really good," he commented, "they're not too soft or anything.  I even like the zucchini."

Of the meatloaf?  "Nothing like yours."  Yeah, that's what I thought

I figured it was a passing fluke, until we were discussing what to make alongside the spiral sliced ham I was roasting for dinner.  Homemade macaroni and cheese?  Perfect.  "What about we try and do vegetables like we had at the restaurant last night?"  Uhh, okay.  You're not groaning when I pick up an innocuous zucchini?  It's a good day for us.

I got the ham into the oven after I got back from the hair salon, but I had to head into the writing room to catch up on homework and put my first semester packet together.  As I was making the cheese sauce to toss with rotonis, Matt offered to make the veggies himself. 

My husband is wanting to eat veggies AND cook them up for me.  A $100 hair day pays off in delicious, stress-free dividends!

I am so impressed and proud of Matt's stellar side dish, which as he claimed, was even better than the restaurant.  The saute at medium heat kept the vegetables cooking slow enough so they didn't overcook and soften.  He seasoned them with Penzey's superstars Tuscan Sunset and Garlic Salt, and used a little butter instead of oil to cut back on the greasy factor.  They were a fresh, light addition - perfect to cut down the decadence of my crazy homemade macaroni and cheese with roasted garlic-panko crust.  MMM.  I think we were both huge successes tonight.

The moral of the story is, don't give up on your picky eaters.  Even if you don't show them the way yourself, they'll eventually find it for themselves. 

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