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What Will I Eat?


I find myself in a strange position.  I write about food, I read about food, I talk about food, I watch TV shows and movies about food, and often (really often) I give other people suggestions about what they should cook or eat. I recommend restaurants here and in other cities, I e-mail favorite recipes, and I hold the hands of nervous cookers who aren’t quite sure they can really make Hollandaise or bake bread.  Today, I am stumped.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and for a variety of reasons there will be no real “birthday dinner.” Rob is in New Orleans at a convention and won’t be home until late at night, so he will not be here to take me anywhere, and although my parents are around, they are going to wait and take me out the night after my birthday so that Rob can join us. There is, of course, a part of me (the part that still believes in Birthday Magic) that finds it grossly unfair that nothing will happen on my actual birthday because Rob is “stuck” in The Big Easy eating jambalaya and Po Boys. That inner child believes that someone, somewhere should sweep in with a wad of cash, a bottle of champagne and a beautifully wrapped gift and say “the world was just bluffing, Annie; we have something wonderful planned for you!” The part of me that is almost 47, and has been around the block knows that mostly I need to get over it.

Still, I would at least like to cook something nice for myself. Well, and for Sam, who will be with me. I just can’t think of anything that I really want to eat. I cannot spend the day cooking myself something Chef-prep, multi-step and complicated because there is Church, Sam has to go to a birthday party, and there is March Madness to be watched. I am thinking I want  something luxurious, and delicious, maybe even sinful, that isn’t too complicated and (and this is a big issue) will be eaten by a twelve year old boy who doesn’t eat seafood. (Of course, if the suggestion lights my fire, he can have a grilled cheese sandwich. I’m really fine with that).

Readers, if you’re out there, take a minute from your busy day and tell me what I should eat. Send me a recipe, a suggestion, a link…knowing that someone out there cares about my culinary happiness (SNIFF) will please the Birthday Magic child within, and help the seasoned adult part of me to fix her something that will make her feel less like the Little Match Girl.


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).

23 responses »

  1. wow, I would be totally intimidated to recommend to YOU something to eat. And happy birthday. You and Todd share your birthdays! That reminds me I should ask him what HE wants to eat, and I’ll need to bake!

  2. Seriously, I agree with Michelle, too much intimidating pressure to recommend something to you, Ann. I wish you a very happy birthday and if something pops into my head today, I will FBook my suggestion to you.

    HB and many more.
    Love from Eric

  3. BTW, your reference to the little match girl is so heartbreakingly sad/hilarious–but just remember–didn’t she end up going up in flames at the end of that story?

  4. Guys, I have recipes in abundance – I just want to know what sounds yummy to you…like, for instance, a fresh baguette with some good cheese, or chicken salad with a ripe mango in it…just something that would make you happy if someone made it for you on your birthday.

    As for The Little Match Girl, yes; I think she was barbecuing a birthday for herself because no one else cared, and her raggedy black dress caught fire…..

  5. Don’t play with matches–this comes from a boyhood memory. Ooh, did I get in a heap of trouble in that memory.

    I would, if it was me, google Smorrebrod and make myself a couple of those delectable Danish open-faced sandwiches (take a picture if you do it).

  6. I just googled Little Match Girl and found out that it was a Danish tale–so, how serendipitous, Smorrebrod fits right in with this theme. ha ha.

  7. I completely understand your feelings about birthdays being observed ON birthdays. Mine is 11/28 and my fiance thinks we should just always celebrate on Thanksgiving to “make it easier.” This past year, I had leftovers from the holiday meal I cooked the day before! My family, in lieu of even a phone call, arranged a serenade by the staff of Red Robin the Saturday following. Gee thanks.

    Although its not my birthday now, I have had a stressful week and plan to pamper myself with some favorite dishes using spring-like ingredients. Morels were in at Horrocks this week so its, this risotto along with a to-be-determined preparation of some perfectly-size asparagus.

  8. Eric, I will check out the Danish sandwiches, but I’m telling you now that I am NOT eating herring. Thank you for a real suggestion. Now I believe your protestations of love. 🙂

    Genie, your risotto looks wonderful, and I do love both making and eating risotto. I actually had a pretty good version at The Olive Garden, of all places, with shrimp and asparagus in it. No shrimp or mushrooms (alas) because of The Kid, but maybe some asparagus and proscuitto…..

  9. Self indulgent birthday cooking? I’m SO with you.

    Melon (or breadsticks) wrapped in prosciutto

    Steamed artichoke with lemon-garlic aioli

    Grilled Lobster with more lemon-garlic aioli (or drawn butter)

    Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream
    – Halve and stone two peaches.
    – Brush each peach half with a little lemon juice, sprinkle with a teeny bit of cayenne powder and grill for 5 – 7 minutes.
    – Remove from the grill and serve with softened vanilla ice cream.

  10. So, what did it turn out to be? I love it that there are other adults willing to say “woe is me” now and again for the little things…

    Also, I’ve threatened to make beanie weenies for people when they come over because my husband is a VERY good cook, and so people are a bit too intimidated (we suspect) about inviting us over. (I hope that’s all it is! 😉

  11. What do I want people to cook for me?? Anything that won’t kill me with my allergies! I always cook! Me, I am always happy with mexican and that topopo is sounding delicious. . . and brownies. I always always want brownies. Hold the nuts please.

  12. Julie, hmmmm. Definitely melon, if I could find a good one, and artichokes are on sale at Meijers. I don’t know if I could justify buying myself a lobster, though. Perfect dessert suggestion – how did you know I hate chocolate and love peaches?

    Laura Grace, thanks for coming by!! I don’t know what it is until Sunday. Or, at the earliest, tomorrow when I do the grocery shopping. I’m obsessed with that lobster, now…..

    Michelle, I didn’t realize that you were one of the people with allergies, too. I never put nuts in brownies anyway; I prefer them without. I could get myself a bazillion-point Topopo…..

  13. Lordy, make someone ELSE cook! Topopo Salad. salsa, chips and cheese dip in front of a TV full of basketball. ‘Nuff said.

  14. gt, I think you’re on to something – I’ve also had a nice invitation to take Sam to eat and watch us beat USC at the Harrison Roadhouse. Not where I was expecting this road to take me (no pun intended) but it’s looking better and better. Besides, my “real” birthday dinner is at Mitchell’s on Monday and THEY will make me a lobster.

  15. Hey there,
    Nothing like a patty melt! Too bad we’re in Tennessee and can’t make it for you. But I’ve included the link to the recipe. Guaranteed Sam approval, if he likes onions and cheese and ground beef!
    Happy early birthday, honey!!

  16. Ann,

    I seem to remember an old indian proverb that goes something like “Today is a good day to turn 47….”, or something similar. Hope you and Sam figured out what to do. Next year his gift will most likely be, “Mom ill eat whatever you want today, its your birthday”. Right.

    I can attest to the merits of a small bottle of homade Elderberry wine, a stack of saltines, 2 cans of kippered snacks (smoked Herring steaks), and some stolen navel oranges. On this particular birthday it was the setting and the company that put it over the top.

    Hope your special day ends as nice as that one did for me…..

  17. Robert, I think your suggestion is excellent and I want that. The Elderberry wine is going to be harder to get than the other stuff–but as I remember my mom made Elderberry jam from local E-berries, I suspect Ann will be able to lay her hands on it more easily. Is is your birthday, yet, Ann?

  18. Mary, that’s why I love you. Had I actually cooked, I would have made those patty melts, which were exactly what I couldn’t think of for myself. As it is, I will be making them very soon. Unless you are going to come and make them for me.

    Robert, I love the story, but I cannot eat kippered herring. My father loves them, and I have tried many (!) times, but I just don’t like them. Sounds like a lovely birthday, though – I’d like to hear more….

    Eric, it IS.

    I ended up eating Taco Bell and drinking beer. Not romantic or fancy, but Sam and I decided that would hit the spot while we watched basketball, so we had a picnic in the living room. For me, except for the fact that Rob wasn’t here, it was a perfect birthday dinner.

  19. It’s probably past your birthday but hope you had a nice day – next time hubby heads to NOLA …go! and the MUST DO is head to Jacques-Imos for the Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake and Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade followed by dancing at the Maple Leaf next door – and start your evening with a bloody mary on the veranda of The Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue. Breakfast the next day? Try Camilla Grill for eggs and grits. Lunch? The famous (ran into the vice governor in line there) Domilise’s. Oyster loaf? Casamentos. No better food in the US than New Orleans and it’s better than ever!

  20. Yay. Happy mfg (mfg =manufactured by a girl) birthday, to you. And I really really mean it.

  21. Taco Bell and beer. . . did the neighbors bring it to you? 🙂 Doesn’t matter, your a year older, healthy, have a full life, and the Spartans won. Life is good.

  22. Happy Birth Day Miss Annie, a day (or two) late and a dollar (or three) short. I am hoping that maybe that fantasy of yours came true and a handsome and/or gorgeous someone w/a big wad of money showed up and whisked you off to a sinfully decadent evening of noshing on your actual BD. Short of that scenario, I hope you ingested and imbided (sp?) to your heart’s content some food and drink that were equal to the joyous event of your birth day.

    I also hope that when your husband returned, that you were treated to a wonderful evening out where someone else cooked for you ~ junemoon

  23. TB, I like the way you think. He was willing to take me, but his employer wasn’t. Next time, we go conference-free, and follow your lovely instructions. I am getting goosebumps just thinking about what Oyster Loaf might be like…sounds like a good cure for the hangover I’ll have from the previous night.

    Eric, I know you mean it. 🙂 People like you are part of why it WAS mfg.

    Michelle, no; at half time I drove to the East Lansing Taco Bell and circled the block, quadrupling my carbon footprint, while Sam went in and bought our Faux Mexican Feast.

    Junemoon, I had to settle for my own kid and Taco Bell, but I’m inordinately fond of both and wouldn’t trade the evening I had for the evening I conjured. Last night, after the Return of the Prodigal Father, we did go out and have a proper feast with shrimp and calamari and Mai Tais and Key Lime Pie. It’s all good.


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