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All by Myself…


I never get to eat dinner by myself. Never. I dream about it, I fantasize about it, I plan what I will cook or lay out for myself as if I were some sort of self-serving Geisha: a perfectly ripe pear, three slices of Manchego and a nearly transparent piece of Parma ham. Truffled grits topped with a poached quail egg and a delicate salad of field greens dressed with Olive Oil and an aged Balsamic. A tofu and cashew stir-fry over brown rice with a citrus salad.

Tonight, as it turns out, I am dining alone.  Mr. Annie is in Indiana, Sam is eating Kentucky Fried Chicken at Youth Group, and I was supposed to go to a dinner meeting but I have the kind of cough that makes people look at me like I am the TB carrier on the plane, so I am home alone. Had I but known, I would have bought myself something They won’t eat. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it coming, and there is really nothing interesting to cook. (No one was supposed to be here, tonight). There is no Manchego, no quail egg, no tofu.

I’ll figure something out, but my choices (as far as I can tell) are limited to Frosted Mini Wheats, oatmeal, Healthy Choice Garden Vegetable Soup, or eggs and toast.  There is also some light cream cheese and a container of chocolate frosting, as well as a Parmesan rind, a withering lemon and a bag of baby carrots. There is always peanut butter in the house, and, oooooh…a jar of marmalade. (What is a “marmal,” anyway?) I could have a peanut butter and marmalade sandwich with a glass of milk and maybe (if I’m feeling dangerous) some baby carrots. It would be kind of like school lunch, only quieter and without that hot lunch smell.

Despite my graphic and extensive fantasies about dinner for one, it’s turning out that all I really want is something quick and simple to eat while I read my book in the quiet house. If someone else were here, and hungry, I could make something good out of the odds and ends available to me, but they aren’t, and I don’t want to. The beauty of dinner alone is that there are no expectations other than my own, and I can just have a new fantasy that involves not cooking. Tonight, it’s probably going to be the crunchiest of generic peanut butter and a delicate swathe of ancient marmalade on rugged slabs of Pepperidge Farm oat bread, with an icy glass of skim milk. Tonight, that’s the stuff dreams are made of.


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

9 responses »

  1. Ann,

    PB&M sadwiches are proportionately good depending how hungry you are. Orange rinds (marmels) qualify as a vegetable, I think.

  2. sounds pretty damn good to me
    but i’d toast the bread

  3. I, personally, would go for the frosting. . . Zachary LOVES Healthy Choice Garden Veg. soup, for real. . .

  4. claudia, where were you when I needed you? It was a little soggy, and would have been VASTLY improved by toasting.

    Michelle, I would have eaten the frosting, but I don’t like chocolate.

  5. I apologize, but I stopped reading immediately and tabbed off to Wikipedia the instant you queried “What is ‘marmal’, anyway?”. (I miss the days when this type of question would have involved phone calls to my professor father and a thorough investigation of my old classic cookbooks, all of which would send me off on tangents.) According the our Wikipedia contributor, the English “marmalade” is derived through the French “marmelade” from the Portuguese “marmalada” where the root marmala translates to the English “quince”. Please accept my apologies for my pendantry (especially if you know the answer by now); I will now turn disable my keyboard and read to the end without comment.

  6. oh yeah, chocolate “tastes like dirt” I forgot. . . 🙂

  7. Robert (I missed you the first time) – orange rinds are NOT a vegetable. Actually, I quite like them.

    Will – you can’t help yourself; we were raised that way. We are cursed. We are doomed. I am most grateful to know the etiology of “marmelade,” although I’m a little disappointed to find out that there are no “marmels.” Never apologize for pedantry; it’s my favorite thing after cleanliness, godliness, archery and riflery.

    Michelle – actually, I do like Cadbury chocolate, which real chocolate lovers consider to be sub-par because it’s so chalky and milky.

  8. Ann,

    Don’t give up so quick on Marmels. Heres the rundown according to Grandma (not French in any way).

    Strained through cloth = Jelly
    Strained through sieve = Jam
    Chopped in small pieces = Marmalade
    Canned whole = Preserves
    * all with added sugar

    PS: The French make marmalade out of onions, who you gonna trust?

  9. Robert, to be pedantic (because I was raised on a pedant farm near Will’s) your submission harmonizes with his, and I can use all of the information to give me an international understanding of the origins and vernacular usage of “marmelade.” I LOVE onion marmelade, by the way. 🙂


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