Valentine’s Disaster

Disaster, from the words meaning “bad star.” That’s from some book I read at some point somewhere. I’m picturing Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash,” with the Librarian commenting on how he’s a “sucker for non-sequitors,” so that’s likely. It’s also completely unrelated to my point.

Most of our money and time is currently being focused on this “wedding” thing Mandrina and I are going to be having in just over three weeks. (GASP. No panic, really, not yet at least, but GASP.) So, instead of going out for Valentine’s Day (where prices mysteriously increase, and crowds are omnipresent), I had decided we would stay in, and I would cook dinner.

I neglected to let Mandrina know this, ’cause I’m a dummy. So yesterday afternoon, she emails me from work to ask if we’re going out to dinner, or if she was going to be cooking. I told her I was going to be, and mentioned something regarding what I was planning — proper Beef Wellington, so called by myself because I loath the thought of pate, and it turns out most ignorant savages prepare Beef Wellington with a liver pate. Mine was going to feature some sort of onion-mushroom-breadcrumb mixture, as a riff off my mother’s recipe for the same. So proper Beef Wellington, an expensive bottle of red wine that’s been waiting for a special occasion…

I got back a reply around 2 in the afternoon, asking for fish in a citrus seasoning. Simple? Not if the only fish I’ve ever cooked was salmon in a heavy butter dill sauce. Several hours of searching online and over an hour at the grocery store trying to find “grouper, halibut, or snapper” and come up with a recipe, I ended up preparing lemon-pepper herb snapper encrusted in pecans, served over a bed of wild and long rice, served with a side of long green beans.

Impressed? Me, too. Admittedly, the first thing I did when I got home was growl and tell Mandrina to leave me alone after having to spend so long grocery shopping, but then I got down to business. I also still didn’t have a recipe, as such, just a few inclinations (and no idea how long it was going to bake or broil the fish).

So after almost setting the pecans on fire (broil on the top rack was a bad idea, for future reference), I served Mandrina, and then went back to the kitchen to serve myself.

“Honey, did you know this fish still had bones in it?”

I freeze, my plate in hand. “Ah. No. Not at all.”

“*cough* *cough* *cough*”

Mandrina ended up with a piece of bone getting caught just before her wind pipe, scraping up the back of her throat. She didn’t feel much like doing anything other than sitting in bed after this point, although the possibility of going to the hospital was thankfully avoided. (In my defense, despite the fact that she tore up her throat on her first bite, she still ate the largest piece of the snapper, and got halfway through the second largest piece before choosing to go rest — so it wasn’t just to get out of eating my food!)

Last year, Mandrina ate an oyster at a fancy seafood house — and got sick from it.

Next year, we’re not having seafood. I’m thinking lean ground beef (no fat), boiled (no oil), unseasoned (no allergies!), served cooled (no burned lips), in a bowl (harder to drop), eaten with a spoon (no dangerous tines!). Just have to make sure to overcook the meat so it can’t be raw…

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  1. Too bad about the bones, but I’m really impressed that you cooked such a complicated dish! 🙂

  2. Sorry man–that really bites. Makes for a good story for your kids, though, right?

    Had a few gaffes of my own… flowers didn’t arrive, forgot the card at the checkstand, and demonstrated a complete lack of basic dancing ability. But hey, we had a good time anyway. (-:

  3. Andrew says:

    So, it turns out that Mandrina didn’t get that I didn’t have a recipe. She just assumed I had found one, and had no idea I was cooking off the top of my head.

    She also spent last night trying to play on my sympathies, but I resisted. She got microwaved chicken nuggets, and was happy with ’em, darn it!