Friday, March 17, 2006

Missing Phil and Rosie's Good Cookin'

It is a let down to come home to my own food after all the good restaurant meals and the exceptional cuisine one always gets at Phil and Rosie's. Both are such good cooks and have the skill of seasoning ordinary food so it is much better than the average bear's.

Inspired by Phil's sweet smelling and tasty meatloaf made with salsa sauce, I decided to experiment. Except oddly I was out of salsa tho I usually have it on hand. So I decided to open a jar of picante sauce I have had in the pantry for months for some recipe (have forgotten what) that I never got around to trying. Well, first I put in a bit more than I intended cause it plopped out when I poured from the jar. Then I forgot to coat the top with catsup, so the finished product was dry and maybe I cooked it a mite long. I made two small loaves so I could take one to our daughter, and they were edible--but they surely were not yummy like Phil's.

Rosie had made a great salad with onion rings and orange slices. I've done that too, but again her salad was more flavorful than mine. Nevertheless, I will be using that variation on green stuff again soon cause my mouth waters thinking about her salad. I came home with her broccoli cornbread and dill biscuit recipes that we enjoyed, and wished I had asked for her chop suey recipe that she served one lunch.

Like so many of our retired friends, Rose and Phil have gone to two meals a day plus snacks. But they still insisted on fixing us three. We might be as slender as they are if we could make the switch. But Gerald works so hard outside that I would feel bad not fixing meals according to our regular three times a day custom. I already do not cook breakfast since he gets up so much earlier than I do--anytime from 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. while I like to sleep till 7 or later when I get a chance.

So I fix coffee the night before, lay out the dishes for his orange juice and cereal, etc., and occasionally Gerald varies his menu with an egg he fixes in the microwave. Once or twice a year or more I actually cook breakfast, but frankly it is not very good when I do. Nor are most of my other meals since one of my goals is to fix five-to-fifteen minute meals whenever possible, so I have time to do other things. However, I will try to create Phil's scrambled eggs with onions and green chili peppers. Now that was a breakfast!

Shiloh got to eat some too when he dropped in to clean their backyard for spring. Phil and Rosie are always ready to feed a hungry grandchild who stops by before or after work. Their pantry, fridge, and freezer are always full of good things to eat. (You'd have to see it to believe it. They are ready for earthquake, tornado, bird flu, or terrorists if the roads get shut off, but then they always have been.) They feed a lot of people often. Yet my sister could give lessons on how to be thrifty in buying groceries. I admire that skill of hers also. She studies the ads and stores and buys thoughtfully. They like to share, and their culinary and money management skills are used to that end. The grocery carry-out boy followed me and Rosie to her car to be sure that Phil knew he was not going to be at the grocery store during his birthday week as he was taking off on vacation to do another job. But he knew Phil always brings him a birthday cake--and he wanted Phil to know he would have to have it early this year!

I have never eaten a cookie I did not like whether it was my own or someone else's. However, I won't even try to compete with Phil's famous chocolate chip cookies and all the variations he makes. The orange extract he puts with the chocolate and butterscotch chips make them very special.

Because of the need to have the car in Tulsa on Friday, we left Thursday morning even though I really would have loved to go to Hereford to meet my new great great niece Autumn Rose and to see her three brothers again, who were so adorable two years ago at their Aunt Tori's wedding--the last time I got to see them. We were invited down for a meal with Autumn Rose's grandmother,Cyndi, and she is a great cook too just like her parents. If we had gone, it would have been after Rosie's tai chi class on Thursday mornings and so it would have been evening when we got back to Amarillo and we would have needed to spend the night.

Once we woke up on Friday, I would have been very reluctant to leave. Friday is the weekly gathering at Rose and Phil's when all the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids who aren't working or otherwise occupied come to enjoy Pop's cooking. He was smoking a ham the weekend we left. Rosemary fixes great side dishes to go with the chicken, brisket, hamburgers, tacos, or whatever meat Phil fixes in the smoker. They usually have ranch beans, which are much better in Texas than the ones I buy in Illinois. And, of course, a yummy dessert or two altho their kids aren't too into desserts I'm told. Although they may have l0 to 20 there, they always have an extra plate or two to send to a neighbor or shut-in. I really would have like to have been there to participate last Friday night. I enjoy the Friday night feasts and fellowship vicariously whenever I talk to Rosie on the phone.

But fortunately we left on Thursday to get the car fixed. Thus, we had a very pleasant trip on Highway 40 without even suspecting that the Saturday we might have come home was the day when the wildfires would kill four travelers on that road. We hear they are having some rain now, and we are so glad.

It also is raining in California, and Notre Dame's softball game was postponed. Since Gerry, Vickie, and Geri Ann's tickets home are for Sunday morning, they are concerned they might miss a game or two if everything gets postponed too long.

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