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On our drive to drop our kids off with my parents, I was looking through a cookbook I’ve had for years. It’s the Rachael Ray Get Real Meals, and I’ve rarely used it, preferring instead Rachael Ray 365 … where there are carbs. Well, poor RR 365 recently met an untimely death at our apartment, one involving Joshua, a cold cup of coffee, and then an infestation of ants. It was already falling apart; I’d thought many times about getting it spiral-bound. I guess now is the time to buy a new copy.
I’ve had Get Real Meals since at least early 2008, when I posted a recipe for Mustardy Mustard Greens out of it. That would have been less than 4 years into our marriage. And I’ve rarely used it or even looked at it since then.
It made me giggle, paging through the cookbook now, in 2014, which recipes I had marked. Stuffed Pork Chops with Sausage and Apricots, Seafood au Gratin with Sauteed Artichokes and Spinach, Creamy Polenta and Bolognese Sauce. Not to mention those mustard greens. I wonder, did I really have no clue that my husband hates dried fruit, artichokes, spinach, polenta, and all kinds of cooked greens? Or did I think I would make them any way and change his mind on his food choices? (Even though my own dislikes, of course, have stood firm?)
Nearly 10 years into our marriage now, I believe I’m past the point of thinking I can change my husband. Sure, it would be nice if he would eat zucchini with me. But it’s not that hard to just make one grilled zucchini for me (and maybe Joshua and David, who will at least try green things). I can make myself all the polenta and spinach I’d ever want for lunch. Eating in a dining hall for a large portion of the year does make it easier for us to cater to our individual food preferences, too.
It’s not so much that I’ve given up on changing him as I have realized that it’s OK to be unique. Would I even want Mr. V to suddenly decide he loves cooked spinach? What if he also decided suddenly that he loves thin blondes, or hates math, or isn’t sure about kids? We are simply different, and that’s what made me fall in love with him in the first place.
We laugh, always, about Joshua’s enthusiasm for animals. Our baby boy pants with excitement at the sight of a dog or cat, pointing at it to make sure we see. He will follow birds through the air and wants to chase squirrels.
But yesterday, as we wondered through the streets of a new-to-us city, I remembered that my Mr. V will talk to any dog, cat, squirrel, or even tiny lizard that crosses his path. It was one of the things that made me fall in love with him, many moons ago. He attracts and loves dogs and kids. And if Joshua has inherited that trait, I’m glad. It more than balances out a distaste for squash or spinach.