My husband has very basic tastes when it comes to food. His palate has expanded over the years, but generally he sees no need for anything fussy or foreign, a real meat-and-potatoes, bacon-and-eggs kind of guy. I am not. Give me all the sauces, and fancy ingredients, and ancient grains, and special veggies. We order very differently in nice restaurants.
When we first moved in together eleven years ago, our dining preferences took some getting used to. Not that we could afford anything super exciting, but after living alone for several years, I suddenly needed to accommodate vastly different tastes.
One dish we settled on was a sort of shepherd’s pie. I’d brown some ground beef, toss it together in a casserole dish with frozen mixed veggies (square carrots!) and a can of cream of celery soup, and top it with instant mashed potatoes, usually garlic or cheddar flavored. Half an hour in the oven, and dinner was served. Inexpensive and filling, though certainly not very clean.
We still eat a sort of shepherd’s pie around here – we had it tonight, in fact. I’ve graduated to using ground turkey and making a sauce from scratch: chopped onions sauteed in butter and a bit of salt, adding three tablespoons of flour to make a roux and then whisking in a cup of milk. I still use those store-bought frozen veggies, but they’re really not a terrible option when you think about how long the “fresh” produce has traveled in the back of a truck to get to the store. But the potato topping is real now: boiled red skins mashed dirty with butter and spread across the surface. Sprinkled with freshly grated cheese and baked. Salt and pepper. It takes a little longer to prep, but oh, it tastes so much better. And truly, it’s not any more expensive than the packaged stuff from years past.
Pie in the sky? Ground meat raised by here or by friends, or game hunted by J. Carrots and peas and corn and beans and potatoes from our own garden. Local milk and cheese.
So yeah. My shepherd’s pie has a little ways to go yet, but we’ve made some progress.
(Now…if we could just get Swee to eat it…)