There’s just something so romantic about microwave-cooked chicken.
I’m friends with a couple who have been dating for almost 10 years. He’s a chemist, a cook, a foodie, and the son of a wino. She’s a corporate recruiter, a connosoir of Lean Cuisines frozen entrees and drinking pickle juice straight from the jar. She took years to overcome a debilitating fear of raw meat.
I spent a few years in my early twenties living with her, and witnessed approximately 82 envelopes of Mrs. Grass Soup consumed. The crowning moment of our cohabitation occurred twice, during the year of 2004, when I successfully tricked her into eating buffalo meat in burrito form. (She loved them until I came clean.)
While she has made astounding progress over the years, he hasn’t completely rescinded his witty but cunning label, referring to her taste as “the palate of a trucker”.
Recently, she shared a hilarious story with me about the first meal she ever cooked for him during the infantile days of their relationship. In college, and completely unaware of his culinary ability or penchant for flavor, she invited him over to her luxurious college apartment for the ubiquitous First Homemade Meal.
“First, I took a package of Tyson’s microwaveable chicken cutlets and heated them up. Then I opened a bag of chopped romaine lettuce which I washed and tossed with Kraft Fat-Free Caesar dressing. Once the chicken was heated up, I mixed the meat into the “salad”. Then, I toasted a Lenders onion bagel, sprayed it with spray butter and sprinkled it with garlic salt. I also served diet lemonade (Big K brand) in a fancy cup with ice. He ate it without a single complaint. I mean, I really know how to impress a guy.”
Just take a moment to think about these flavors mingling around in your mouth. The plastic taste of the spray butter, the rubbery and floppy chicken, the acerbic chemical-sweet flavor of any processed fat-free condiment. Garlic salt…onion bagel…floppy rubber chicken…lettuce with brown edges…Kroger brand diet lemonade! Oh the horror!
The week after serving this Gourmet-inspired feast, she overheard someone thank him. “Hey man, thanks for dinner last night. What was that sauce you served over the filet mignon?”
Ten years later, they share the pants. But he definitely wears the apron.
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