A Menu For A Little GirlSaturday, January 21, 2012
|Lauren Elizabeth Stewart|
While the picture of the little girl here might jar a bit with the content of what’s written it just so happens that one of the definite advantages about blog writing is that I am not subject to the whims of editors or art directors. I had enough of that in that era of my life where I was working for magazines. My wife Rosemary looked at the picture and was disgusted. Happily, she, too, is not my editor or art director.
In the last few months family dinners at home were marred by the explosive and moody outbursts of my older granddaughter whose body is going through changes of which I have no knowledge as I was never a 14-year-old girl. I attempted to reduce the dinnertime outburst by having her sit next to me. This way I could avoid eye contact and such remarks as, “Why are you looking at me like that?” Unfortunately a grandfather that has been used to teasing his daughters and granddaughters does not know how to stop. Even after I was warned, I persisted. And so it came that a couple of weeks ago RG (raging hormones) called to say she was no longer going to opt for coming for Saturday visits.
I must, of course, mention here that my wife is extremely angry at me. But there have been some advantages. Dinners have been quiet and peaceful. They have been not stressful at all. Conversation at the table is subdued but happy. We retire to watch a film on TV.
Now, the younger granddaughter, Lauren, 9, is able to take my teasing as if she were wearing plate armour. She dishes it right back. She is impervious.
I came up with the idea a few days ago that we should call up Lauren and ask her to choose the menu for today. She was very quick to immediately ask for her chewy meat. This recipe, which I post here, has become one of the family’s faves. The meat is not too chewy as I thinly slice it at an angle. The only modification that I have made to the NY Times recipe is to reduce the oil by one half. The purpose of the oil is to make your barbecue flame up. This immediately blackens the flank stake into a crust while keeping the inside moist and rare.
My recipe for mashed potatoes includes lots of cream, butter, pepper, freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano, and half a very finely chopped onion. I ignore all those who would scoff at my then whipping all the above with an electric hand-beater. Both Lauren and Rebecca like my mashed potatoes.
I agree with Lauren’s choice of Jell-O but when Rosemary is not looking I do not stir the mixture too much. The result is Jell-O that is a tad soft on the surface but at the bottom it develops a chewy consistency much like gum. I love it and I am slowly turning Lauren to appreciate this, too.
Lauren states, “Rebecca is going to miss out on this meal. There is more for us.” I presently agree but I do hope that Rebecca does eventually come back and that I will be able to sit her in front of me. I will try not to tease her, but I am not promising.