The difficulties of dinner


I love food. What Cajun doesn’t? More importantly, I love GOOD food. Not just good tasting, but good for me. There are multiple concerns to decipher given these conditions.

#1. COST. Why does healthier eating cost so much more? Probably because there are more human working hours tending to the care of my nourishing food, whereas a machine can PROCESS more in less time. That’s a rant for another time. Given my latest challenge of extreme frugality, I could not afford to be choosy.

#2. LOCATION. There aren’t many options in Rayne. It’s like the choice between red or brown gravy. No health food stores. Limited produce. This was an adjustment after living in Lafayette for 9 years, and I still found that selection to be slim. However, given the hurdle of low funds, it was still too expensive to jump to Fresh Market or Fresh Pickens.

#3 COMPROMISE. I’ve had to adjust to finding meals that both Jon and I enjoy. He doesn’t understand how I can eat a bag of veggies with hummus as a dish. While I can’t seem to fathom how chili dogs and ice cream equals a substantial means of nutrition.

The new job in Lafayette has already helped with the circumstances. After I clocked off yesterday afternoon, I went to Sam’s. The goal was to find fresh fish and veggies for dinner. It’s difficult to find tasty fish, especially when the boyfriend is from the coast of Oregon and is accustomed to the freshest salmon possible.

I fell in love with his favorite dish when we visited his home state back in March. His wonderful mother, whose birthday is actually tomorrow (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSAN!!), cooked it for us the first night we were there: baked salmon, broccoli, and rice pilaf.

The last time we wanted salmon, we had to settle for trout – and that was delightfully delicious. To my surprise, Sam’s had one huge fillet…for $18.41. It had been a while since we cooked together, so I figured it was worth the splurge. While I was there, I strolled through the produce section.

My mother was the first to tell me about the wonderful selection there.  A huge bag of broccoli florets was only $4. When I say huge, I mean there’s enough to eat a serving at both lunch and dinner for a week. I also added spinach (box for $3), Fugi apples (bag $6), strawberries (3 quarts $4), and 6 bell peppers ($4) to my basket.

Jon stopped at the Pig (Piggly Wiggly) in Rayne to buy lemons, a white onion, and the rice. Unfortunately there is no pilaf, so we had Zatarain’s broccoli and cheese rice instead.

His masterpiece is the salmon. He melts butter and tops the fillet with its liquid yumminess, sliced lemon and onion, cracked sea salt, cayenne pepper, and a few other seasonings.

I invited my mother for dinner because; a) she has heard me rave about Jon’s cooking for a while now and b) my father was out of town and I didn’t think she should have to eat alone.

The meal was enough for all three of us to have seconds–and we did. After I cleaned the kitchen, I tallied up the cost. Given the amount of broccoli used, two boxes of rice, and condiments I would say we spent $25. Plus, there were leftovers for both of us today.

I’ll give you something to ponder. If you are what you eat, it’s no wonder I’m a big ole’ chicken. Salmon are very intriguing creatures. They are born into freshwater and after a few years venture to sea. If they survive predators, they return to the exact spot of their freshwater birth to lay their spawn and spend the remainder of their life.

Gee, I’m back at home. If the above statement were in fact true, then the next step would be soon.

Uummmm…

Can someone give me new favorite dish to try? One that won’t involve spawn?

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