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Tag Archive: husband

Jan 18

Serious comfort foods make us happy, but too many cooks spoil the broth

“I come from a home where gravy is a beverage,”
Erma Bombeck.

In mid-January here in the Midwest, there is popular solution to the sunlight deprivation that afflicts us.

Serious comfort food.

Yes, I know that most weight-loss counselors frown upon the soups, gravies, and beans that we all love in the winter, but please experts, may we have them if we promise not to overeat.

Nutritionists tell us we only want them because they make us happy, but isn’t that the point?

In our household during these gray winter days, we like nothing better than a supper of ham and beans, (always better the second day or the third) and served up steaming hot with cornbread and butter.

I do not know about your family, but in ours, we only eat it in the winter anyway, so I say go for it.

Thus, on a particularly nasty winter day this week, my husband announced, “It is about time we have ham and beans. I am getting the ham hock out of the freezer.”

Thankfully, he retrieved the freshest one because there was a stale hock hiding in the back. We allowed the meat to defrost slowly in the refrigerator before simmering it all night with navy beans and spices in a crock-pot.

By morning of the first day, the soup looked perfect.

We did not want to serve it until evening, so the spousal unit suggested we sit the pot on the cold garage floor until noon. Then, we would put it in smaller containers and refrigerate until dinner. I did not get home for lunch after all and did not see the soup again until I reheated it in the evening.

I noticed it had thickened, and I did not see many beans. What happened I wondered?

Perplexed at the ham-and-bean soup without beans, I searched through the cupboard and found a can of pre-cooked beans I could add to the mixture. The only problem was that the beans were ranch-style, spicy with a hint of jalapeno. In ham-and-bean soup? I did not care though because I wanted the comfort food right now. It would do.

The next day I cooked more navy beans and added them to the soup.

It was then I noticed an additional ham hock in the broth, no doubt the old one from the back of the deep freezer. It looked inedible so I fished it out right away and sent it straight to the trash.

By the third day, the bean soup was perfect, but I still wondered why the beans disappeared on the first day.

In a moment of contrite confession to avoid the doghouse, the spouse admitted to eating every single bean out of the soup during his lunch hour on the first day. Also, he confessed adding the extra ham hock because he thought the soup needed more ham, freezer-burned or not.

Moral: ham-and-bean soup is not a group project.

May 27

Honey, I bought a bridge!

“Honey, I bought a bridge,” my husband said as he walked through the kitchen door one summer evening nearly 11 years ago.

I asked him if he meant to say he had shrunk the kids, but no, he said that, in fact, he had bought a bridge.

Now, I am thinking that surely he must have said “fridge.”

Nope. He repeated it again, “I bought a bridge.”

To which I replied, “Just out of curiosity, say if one wanted to buy a bridge, how would one go about doing that?”

“Got a great deal,” he said.

I was thinking something along the lines of this, “Exactly why do we need a bridge.”

Instead of saying anything, I waited for the sure-to-come long-winded explanation.

Long story short, and believe me it was a very long story, he said it was just too good a deal to pass up.

Seems as though his brother-in-law knew of a new bridge being put in somewhere along the Moniteau River in south central Missouri. The county gave the old bridge to the contractor and let him figure out how to dispose of it. The contractor had no need for an old steel bridge and told the folks in the area that he would sell it cheap if someone would haul it off.

“What a great deal,” my husband continued, “not only is there oak flooring still in tact on the bridge, but guess what? There is a second bridge. It is actually the better of the two and has a plaque indicating that it was built in 1898.”

Hey, what can you do? A deal like that does not come along just any old day.

Thereupon, we set out to find said bridge and figure out how to move it home.

Are you with me on this?

The best part of Mission Bring-Home-the-Bridge-We-Just-Bought was the woodland paradise scenery we found, gorgeous Ozark woods and clear streams.

Locating the bridge was the easy part. Deciding how to move it home was the conundrum.

The bonus bridge, only 25 feet long, would be simple to move. We could borrow Cousin Gene’s trailer and haul it easily along the county roads and onto the interstate and home with no insurmountable difficulty.

Don’t ask me how we loaded it.

Transporting the big bridge, 16 feet wide and 50 feet long, was a brain teaser for sure. State law prohibits traveling the interstate with such a long load except for limited daylight hours. County roads are difficult to maneuver with curves and hills to negotiate.

Looks like we would now have to find a tractor truck with a low-boy trailer and hire the job done.

The cost of the bridges was mounting, the great deal gone.

Today, after eleven years of enjoying the view (from our breakfast room) of these two steel bridges in the field north of our house, I have no real complaints.

Can’t say as much for the neighbors.

The wildlife loves the bridges though.

I have watched a fox take a nap on one of the beams, cats hunt mice in the weeds that have grown up around the bridges, deer enjoy the salt lick beside them, and wild birds roost on the girders.

I have to say I am somewhat at peace with my own Bridges of Lafayette County after all this time.

For awhile there, “The” bridges, as we have named them, drove me crazy, and I even tried to sell them on eBay once. No bids whatsoever.  I ran ads in magazines and told every contractor I knew about them.

Yesirree Bob, there’s a sucker born every minute.

And, we are it.

By the way, I have a couple of bridges that are always on the market.

So pass the word.  I can make you a great deal!