Solve Your Menu Problems

One way to solve your menu problems: Have the same thing every Monday. Have the same thing every Tuesday. You can do it Wednesday and Thursday if you want to. There was this young guy Dominic I worked with once at a job, that had nothing to do with food, and we traveled. He was from deep in Queens. He lived at home and had never traveled before. He had never been on a plane. That wasn’t a big deal to me. He had white sneakers that shone like a beacon on the city streets and a coat with a collar big enough to lean on for a nap. He told me that his sister highlighted his hair for him. He highlighted his eyebrows. I had never seen that before. There are a lot of firsts in your twenties.
It was dinnertime, and I said, “what do you guys want for dinner, quiche?” I don’t know why I said quiche, probably because growing up, we ate it on the edge of too much; it was like anybody else asking if you want a ham sandwich. I couldn’t help it. I was raised vegetarian.
Dominic said, “a what?”
“Quiche. A piece of quiche. You don’t have to, we could get soup or something.”
“Soup. What is the matter with soup.?”
“It’s Tuesday.”
Now this threw me. I was in a land I knew nothing about.
“What do you mean, it is Tuesday?”
“What is quiche?”
“It is eggs. On a crust. With cheese.”
“So ask me if I want some eggs.”
“It is not eggs. It is quiche.”
“Why would you eat that?”
“We were vegetarian.”
“Kids don’t do that. You are kidding me.”
I remember I had had the same argument when it was decided that we weren’t going to have meat anymore.
“What did you eat?”
“Vegetables. Beans. Quiche. Waffles.”
“Waffles?! But no meat. Oh, man. I am sorry about that. That must have been rough.
Tuesday is meatloaf. Meatloaf, mashed potato, peas.”
“What is Wednesday?”
“Pork chop.” Then he needed to know.
“So on Monday, it could be anything. Could be waffles, could be peas.”
“Sort of.”
“First of all, no meat. Second of all, you don’t even know what is coming.”
Somehow I had become the poster child of all things unfair and uncertain in the world. Dominic much preferred dependability and meat. And now that I am old, I can see the point.
I am not saying give up being a vegetarian. I would never say that. It is just that in a way, a little piece of meat can make menu planning a little easier. He was right. As soon as you think, pork chops, roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic is right behind it. And if you love it and you know you always have it on a Wednesday, well Wednesday just got a whole lot dependably better.
In the world of Dominic with a little Faye love:
Turkey meatloaf stuffed with cream soaked crouton, garlic, fried sage and on the side, roasted cherry tomatoes and garlicky spinach
Pasta with meat sauce, string beans and salad of torn herbs and vinaigrette
Chicken pot pie with homemade biscuits, salad of Bibb lettuce, radicchio, blue cheese, and red onion
Fresh ricotta ravioli with fresh tomato sauce and basil served with broccoli rabe dish of radishes and green olives
Whole roasted fish with buttery, lemony rice, braised leek and peas with fresh mint
Lasagna, Caesar salad, OR cheese board and soup of choice.
How about that? Doesn’t feel so bad, does it.

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