What’s for supper? Vol. 99! The best meal in town!

Not really. Do they have The 99 Restaurant and Pub where you live? Do I have a jingle stuck in my head that no one else remembers? I can’t recall if I’ve ever eaten a meal there, but I have definitely been there, and it did not feel like the kind of place at which the best meal in town could possibly be provided.

I just Googled “The 99 the” to see if the slogan in my head is still in current use, and here is what I got:

Now you know as much as I do.

***

SATURDAY
Grilled cheese with ham and apple on sourdough, chips, Siberian pickles

Got the idea from a Kraft ad on Facebook. Deli ham, cheddar cheese, and granny smith apples on sourdough bread, with lots of mayo spread on the outside before grilling. Really delicious (made by Damien). I seem to have lost the photo, though.

I don’t know if they were really specifically Siberian pickles, but my husband was visiting #1 daughter at college, and they popped into a Siberian market, as one does. He brought home pickles, pumpkin seeds, and . . . something. White, poofy balls, sort of like gritty meringue marshmallows. My cyrillic is not up to speed. I ate one and got a blinding headache, so I stuck with the pickles.

***

SUNDAY
Beef bourguignon, fresh bread

I’ve been hearing about beef bourguignon for years, and didn’t really know what it was. It turns out it’s . . . stew.

This is exactly how I make stew. I followed this Sur La Table recipe, designed for the Instant Pot, and served it over noodles, and baked three loaves of bread from readymade frozen dough.

It was good, and the meat was very tender, but not blow-your-face-off-amazing, as I’d been led to expect. And it did taste better than my regular stew, which kind of ticked me off.

I think it’s the same principle at work as when someone loses weight and feels more energetic, and their skin clears up, when they start eating acai berries or rubbing charcoal in their armpits or whatever stupid bullshit people are doing now.

It’s not that the thing itself is especially effective. It’s that once you’ve done some research and bought some products and committed to using it, you’re signalling to yourself that you’re worth the effort, and that makes you feel better, which triggers other good self-care habits. And those are what’s making you feel better, but you paid money for it, so you’re like, “Wow, this acai charcoal is changing my life!”

In this case, I was actually following a recipe for something with a French name, rather than just schlepping around my kitchen making some fwiggin’ stew; and that prompted me to take the trouble to slice the garlic thin and patiently brown each piece of meat, or whatever. So it tasted better than stew. Whatever.

We had chocolate pudding with cool whip for dessert. I was planning to make tiny, individual pie shells by cutting flower shapes out of pie crust and folding up the petals before baking, but I forgot I had to write a thing, so I ran out of time. No one complained about pudding that wasn’t in piecrust flowers. I heroically didn’t have any dessert, but then I ate the leftover cool whip for lunch the next day. I did use a spoon, even though no one was watching.

***

MONDAY
Hamburgers, broccoli

That’s what it says. I have no memory of Monday. Oh wait, here’s a picture:

I do remember! It tasted so good, because we went running in the dark, and then Damien cooked me a burger and made it all gloppy with ketchup and mustard, just the way I like it. It was good.

***

TUESDAY
Hot dogs, hot pretzels, grapes

We had fixings left over from our Hot Dogs O’ Many Nations buffet, so I really had to buy more hot dogs. I had a buffalo dog with bleu cheese, scallions, and buffalo sauce. It did not disappoint.

***

WEDNESDAY
Kids had pork ramen, we went running and then went to Chili’s

I haven’t adjusted to having two fewer teenagers in the house yet, so I bought way too many pork ribs last week, and then sliced up the leftovers and froze them. On Wednesday, I heated the meat up in a little water while the ramen was cooking. Cooked up some frozen spinach and boiled a bunch of eggs, and put it all on the table in separate bowls with sesame seeds and crunchy chow mein noodles, which were the most expensive part of this meal.

Because my special gift is ordering food a restaurant doesn’t specialize in, I had Chili’s unfamous clam chowder and fresca salad, plus about eleven cubic yards of those hot, thin, salty, greasy tostada chips, and a couple of margaritas.

***

THURSDAY
Meatball subs, watermelon

I used about five pounds of beef and a pound of ground turkey, six eggs, three or four cups of breadcrumbs, and whatever seasonings were in the front of the Clementine box. I put the meatballs on a double pan with drainage and put them in a 450 oven for probably 25 minutes, then moved them to a baking pan with tomato sauce to warm them up before supper.

I hope this is the last watermelon of the year. The kids insisted on buying it, but it makes me sad because you can’t find watermelons with seeds anymore. I like watermelon, but it’s so sad that it doesn’t have seeds.

Probably I should note that on my chart. “CD 26: Fatigue; irritability; food cravings; thinks it’s sad that watermelons don’t have seeds anymore.”

***

FRIDAY
The ever longed-for tuna noodle casserole.

Tuna fish, cream of mushroom soup, and egg noodles, topped with crushed potato chips and corn flakes, drizzled with a sauce of ketchup, mayo, and vinegar. If you didn’t grow up eating it, you’ll never enjoy it. If you grew up eating it, it will make you feel five years old again, in a good way.

***

Guess what? I just remembered it’s actually “The 99! The best deal in town!” not the best meal in town. That explains a thing or two.

8 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 99! The best meal in town!”

  1. Just a comment on the watermelon – Watermelon with seeds just tastes better! We are old so don’t need a whole watermelon. Eventually, when the kids are all launched this happens. So we buy watermelon parts – and only the ones with seeds. So, as you can imagine, we don’t have it very often.
    Great column, Simcha! I read faithfully every week. Love the pictures, too!

  2. My kids love watermelon. I used to love watermelon, too, when I wasn’t the one cutting it up into cubes or wedges and getting watermelon juice everywhere. For a while I was actually sinking so low as to buy the pre-cut watermelon in the deli section, until I woke up and realized, *they don’t HAVE to have watermelon whenever they want it!* So we just had our last watermelon of the season, and I told them, “now it’s apple season,” because they can get their own dang apples.

    Monday: Baked chicken thighs and breasts a la America’s Test Kitchen, with ATK roasted red potatoes and carrots. I never like potatoes roasted in a glass pan, when will I learn? But it was all appreciated and eaten, except by one budding vegetarian and one six year old who requested a hot dog.

    Tuesday: Generally known as Mama Can’t Night, we offer kid-made English muffin pizzas, or grilled cheese and soup, or leftovers (see Monday). The six year old asked for a hot dog.

    Wednesday: Six year old’s patron saint’s feast day, St John Chrysostom, so we made a Golden Carrot Cake, had golden french fries and pineapple with our burgers and the guest of honor had…a hot dog.

    Thursday: Fish sticks or baked cod, depending on how old you are, fried rice made in the crockpot (always a hit around here), orange wedges. Amazingly, the six year old did not ask for a hot dog. That is because he had one for lunch.

    Tonight is pasta night. I just boil spaghetti and butter it and put it out in a big pasta bowl, and the six year old thinks “noodles” are AMAZING. We add our own sauce at the table. Frozen broccoli, probably, and frozen breadsticks. If they’re lucky I’ll bung them in the oven first.

  3. There was a restaurant in Murray, KY that would change its name periodically to trick people into thinking it was a new place with better food. It’s been at least 33 years since I ate there and I still remember how bad it was. Like that little hotel by the train tracks in I Love Lucy.
    Sat: leftover pulled pork and hot dogs
    Sun: Husband was cooking and freezing all the pie pumpkins. So we used the leftover pumpkin pie filling to dip french toast in. So good. Served with sausage and poached eggs.
    Mon: ham and turkey sandwiches since it was still really hot out.
    Tues: shawarma. One of those meals I’m always kind of glad several of the kids won’t eat because then I can eat more of it.
    Wed: taco salad
    Thurs: leftover taco stuff, shawarma, lunch meat, sausage. No Tonyloaf though.
    Fri: um, not sure. Most of those who care are going to be elsewhere so whatever we eat here will involve little effort, I think. I will instead try to spend my time productively coming up with Pirate Day treasure hunt clues. Killjoy Krispy Kreme isn’t giving away doughnuts this year, so I don’t know what we’ll eat on Tuesday…

  4. I am not a watermelon lover (I know, it’s disgraceful–I hate football, too, but don’t tell anyone or they’ll take away my Native Texan card) but I dutifully buy them and cut them up for everyone else. I appreciate knowing why they’re usually so pathetic. Next summer I’ll try farmer’s markets–maybe I’ll like them too if I can find properly seeded ones.

    1. My oldest has disliked watermelon since he was little. He’d pick up a piece of it on his highchair tray and squeeze it with this disgusted look on his face! He says it’s the texture. He likes canteloupe, and honeydew…I, on the other hand, despise canteloupe, I think it is the Devil’s Fruit, but I like me some watermelon.

  5. I wonder how the Instant Pot recipe would compare to Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon (https://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/julia-childs-beef-bourguignon/cdda3ccc-3623-4363-8095-aaca1a3f8313)? (Not that I plan to get an Instant Pot.) Stew isn’t my favourite dish but her Boeuf Bourguignon is delicious and worth the effort as long as there aren’t too many people eating it the first night. The leftovers get better every day.

    I also wonder what the white things are.

  6. I have very strong feelings regarding seedless watermelon. Namely, that it is a tasteless abomination of nature, and I will not buy it. Plus, it still has seeds, just those irritating little white ones. What a screw. I haven’t been able to find a real watermelon with seeds here in the north, so this year my kids only had watermelon at school or whatever. Then we went to Grandma’s in the central part of the state, where she had a watermelon with seeds that she bought at the Mennonite store, and the kids were all, “OOOOOHHH. THIS is what watermelon is supposed to taste like!”

    Yes, children. It is. And don’t you forget it.

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