Substitutes and an afternoon off
I had pretty much had enough of just Tuesday afternoons off, so I said I wasn’t coming in this afternoon. I worked until 1:30 PM, came home, started cooking a pork and beans and vegetable thing, put the flame on really low, and took a nap. I feel better now, and I am looking forward to the Friday night meeting.
The beans, though, got me thinking about substitutes. Cooking certain things always makes me think of wine. I’ve always liked cooking. I’m not particularly good at it, but I like it. There’s no false modesty here. Sometimes my food comes out great, sometimes it’s a hot mess. The problem is that cooking for me means basically, “oh, let’s try tossing that in too!” For example, the other night I threw some peanut butter into my fried rice and bratwurst concoction to make it “thai.” It wasn’t terrible, actually, but it was quite some distance from good.
So, wine. Back on topic. I pretty much put wine, when I had it, or beer in everything dinner. I left it out of bacon and eggs and tuna sandwiches, but everything dinner-ish usually had alcohol in it. I know that the alcohol cooks off, so that’s not the problem, but I just am NOT going to buy wine on the premise that I’ll use it for cooking. I just don’t need the temptation no matter how confident I feel about my sobriety.
So what I started doing at home is buying a lot of different kinds of vinegar. It’s acidic and it has assorted fancy types.
But there are a lot of other things that have that wine-ish coolness too. Mustards, olives, honey, and cheeses come to mind. I like things of which there are lots of variations. Wine tasting appealed to me a lot, and we used to go every year. In fact, we’re going again this year with the extended family in May,* but I won’t be drinking. Anyhow, I don’t have vinegar choices here for my beans, so I used some balsamic vinegrette salad dressing that I found at the imported foods market near the Hello Kitty store instead.
I’d be very interested to hear anyone’s thoughts on other things like mustard, vinegar, etc that might be fall into the “fancy appeal of wine varietals” category.**
*Yes, I’m going on the trip too. It’s important to my wife that I participate in this family trip. I’ve done a lot of damage in this regard, so it’s important that I go and act sane and display “good husband.” Central California AA meetings? Get ready for the regular presence of Eric during that 3 day weekend. I’ve already indicated that I won’t take on the role of designated driver or go to the wineries.
**Please keep in mind, self, that for the 362 days a year when I wasn’t wine-tasting, I mostly drank airplane shots of 100 proof Smirnoff isolated in the garage. I had bottles of 2 buck chuck on had, often enough, and I usually kept beer around as a “non-alcoholic” drink to consume between shots of vodka. 2 buck chuck, for the uninitiated, is 2 dollar red wine they sell at Trader Joes.
*** Ah! Almost burned the beans, but ran in and saved it before the water had all boiled away. I turned the beans on super high after I woke up from my nap to speed up the process since I’d like to get to that meeting on time if possible. And time flies when I’m making a blog post. “Just go post a quick one whilst these beans boil,” is a very ill-advised thought.
UPDATE: I’m not going to the meeting tonight. The beans still aren’t close to done. Beans sure do take a long time to cook. I’ll go to bed early and hit the 7AM meeting tomorrow morning.