back to top

“The Way to a Man’s Heart…”

When Harry lived with his parents before we were married, he missed out on a major gustatory delight. Although his mother was an excellent cook, and her home was filled with delightful aromas of vegetable soup, macaroni and cheese and other tempting “home cooking” dishes, no scent of onion was ever detected. Her husband did not like onions. So she omitted that pungent, flavorful vegetable from every dish she prepared, whether raw or cooked.

Harry confided to me before the wedding that he certainly looked forward to having onions included in his meals. Now expressing such a longing to a new bride, anxious to please her husband, can have unexpected consequences.

Our furnished basement apartment on Avenham had a tiny kitchen – just space enough for a stove, sink, refrigerator and a small table with two chairs. But it was adequate for preparing our meals, and I took great pride in this new responsibility. I had considerable culinary experience, having prepared meals for my family during high school years, and I missed planning menus and preparing for more than one during the three years I taught school and lived alone. Now I eagerly assumed the role of cook in my own domicile. Every afternoon around 5:30, when Harry walked home from the bus stop, dinner was ready.

One day as he stepped off the bus and headed for the back yard entrance to our apartment, he sniffed the air and detected a mouth-watering aroma.

“Someone is having onions for dinner!”

The closer he came to our abode, the stronger it became.

That evening we sat down at our table for two and feasted on onions – onion soup, hamburgers with caramelized onions, baked beans with onions…

Eventually, I planned more sensibly. But I continued to try to please my new husband. I read recipe books and frequently tried new dishes. He always ate without complaint whatever I concocted, and I glowed with his praise. Sometimes he simply suggested that I not try that recipe again.

Harry said I seemed to sense when he had a yen for something.

“I was just thinking I would like meat loaf, and there you’ve made it!”

This happened frequently and I almost began to believe I could read his mind.

I loved to cook and clipped recipes constantly.  I especially enjoyed trying new dishes, and since I was now a stay-at-home wife (at least for a few years), I had plenty of time to experiment. I discovered an article on Chinese cooking in a grocery store magazine, and decided to make a complete Chinese dinner.

I spent the entire day preparing that meal. As soon as Harry left for work, I hurried to Mick-or-Mack to shop for ingredients that I did not have on hand – shrimp, soy sauce, rice flour, bok choy, etc. Once back at home, the fun part began– actually making the various dishes.

The fortune cookies claimed my attention early in the day – and took almost as much time as the rest of the meal! At last I placed a carefully inscribed, loving message in the center of each one and pinched the edges of the cookie together while it was warm and pliable. On to the other chores — cutting vegetables, peeling shrimp, making egg drop soup and, of course, a bowl of rice and hot tea.

I was proud, to say the least, of what I accomplished. I covered the table in the living room with a freshly ironed starched cloth and at 5:30 precisely, placed the steaming bowls of Chinese stir fry with rice in the center, near the pot of hot tea..

When I heard Harry whistling as he approached the door, I rushed to greet him.

“Come see what I made for dinner!” I shouted.

His face did not wear the look of pleasant surprise I anticipated.

“Can we put it in the refrigerator and have it tomorrow night? I had lunch today at the Pagoda – a special, “All you can eat for One Dollar.”

I tried to hide my disappointment. “Oh, well – the timing was off, but at least I knew what you craved!”

By Mary Jo Shannon
[email protected]

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Related Articles