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Food Glorious Food

A song keeps going through my head “tomato…tomatoe… potato…potatoe … let’s call the whole thing off!” Everyone has their limits. I am no exception!


At lunch yesterday we recycled the previous evening’s leftovers of pasta and meat sauce. It really was very good, even if I say so myself! I make the meat sauce with a splash of red wine and it really tastes Italian.

Hubby on the other hand, was not impressed. He lifted up a piece of egg fettuccine and exclaimed:

“What is this supposed to be?! You know I don’t like this ungamacht! You know I like potatoes! When was the last time you made me potatoes? Did you forget how to make them?”

Hubby’s food issues are back again. He was doing much better, but has reverted to rejecting most meals before he tastes them, again proclaiming “If I eat this, it will make me sick!” (The exact word he prefers is “vomit”. So charming, so graphic!)

Of course, I remember how to make potatoes! I make terrific potatoes. I will make some for you tonight! (Author’s note: I do actually make potatoes for him about 5 nights per week. Oven fries, mashed, escalloped, baked, roasted, boiled, or steamed. Hubby remembers none of this.)

I leave it to Violet to make hubby something else to eat for his lunch. She comes up with fried eggs on toast, and hubby eats them with no complaint. His palate is now quite like a young child’s – simple food is preferred.

Fruit is in short supply as winter has arrived. I bought strawberries, but they are tasteless. Persimmons are available, so Violet peeled the skin off them to please Hubby, but that revealed the brown sections which repel him. No fruit for Hubby today will meet his elevated standards.

When I begin thinking about which potatoes to make to please Hubby, I recall that I have a whole chicken in the fridge and that I have not made my variation on Jamie Oliver’s roasted chicken and potatoes recipe recently. That is a plan! The potatoes come out divine after pre-boiling with a whole lemon and head of garlic, and then cooking for a total of 1+1/2 hours in the fat of the chicken. Hubby will be thrilled, and I will enjoy this meal at the same time!

This recipe is time-consuming, but worth the effort. With a goal of an 8 PM dinner, I began some of the preparations at 4. The chicken itself needs an hour and a half to cook.

Fast forward to 8 PM. I bring out a glorious roasted chicken, a bowl of chunks of browned and crisped potatoes, and an utterly delicious side of zucchini chunks baked in the oven with sea salt, garlic and oil. I was in food- heaven.

Violet was off this evening, but promised to return earlier than usual. It was a romantic dinner for two, without candles.

The minute the food landed on the table Hubby was in full rejection-mode. I placed a few chunks of potato on his plate, two pieces of zucchini and one leg of the chicken.

“What the hell is this? You expect me to eat this? It will make me sick!”

I looked at the food on my plate, thought of how much effort I had put into the meal, grabbed my plate and went into the kitchen to eat all by myself. Hubby was left to complain to an empty chair. Violet returned early and he continued complaining to her. He refused to touch the food on his plate.

I mentally turned off my reaction button, and enjoyed the product of my labor in isolation. (“Enjoyed” might be a bit of an over-statement… how does one enjoy anything after a confrontation?)

Hubby ate absolutely nothing. A stubborn child. He expected me to come up with an alternative. I did not. I was fed-up with this repeat performance.

He retired to his man-cave which houses our only television. I joined him there hoping a T.V. show would distract him, and aware that it was probably was a mistake to enter his turf. He continued complaining about my horrible food. I rose up and went into the living room to get away from the monologue. He continued his complaints to Violet who explained how many hours I had worked on the meal which he had refused to consume. Hubby decided that he should apologize. Not that he was wrong, just that he should mumble some words at me. He came to the living room with Violet. “I apologize if I have upset you.” Very civilized for someone in his condition. But of course, he could not stop there. It was followed with more complaints about my food. I responded as immaturely as I could muster:

“You have rejected the last 10 meals that I have put before you! I really do not want to hear any more complaints! This is not about the food. It is about your attitude!” I stood up, went into my woman-cave and closed the door. It was close to 10 PM. I presumed that Violet gave him something to eat, but I actually did not care either way. I have been ill for the past week with a vicious cold and went to sleep a few minutes later, with a codeine pill prescribed by my doctor intended to calm my hacking cough and lull me into dream-land.

This morning, after a full ten hours of deep sleep, I arose to see Hubby waking as well. “Good morning!” we both said, all smiles. I helped him get out of bed and he said “Where is my morning kiss?!” I ceremoniously kissed his head (not to risk my germs reaching too far…) and Hubby was delighted. He is currently tucking in to his toasted pita slathered with blueberry jam, his morning cookies and his second cup of coffee.

I asked Violet how the balance of last night proceeded. Hubby agreed to an ice-cream dinner and then began talking to her as if she was “Barbara.” He asked how many homes we currently have and told her that his big brother Raymond does not want him to buy near the sea. All good info to keep in mind for the future. Raymond of blessed-memory, hopefully looking down on his younger brother from above, should be pleased at Hubby’s consistent concern about his older brother’s opinions and health.

Tonight, I will go out to dinner with two lady-friends. Violet will take Hubby to his favorite restaurant to eat the same pasta dish that he always orders there. Tomorrow night will pose another dinner challenge. I think it will be an omelet and fries. Both are safe. He will eat and I will not be insulted. Knowing what works, is different than being able to do what brings the best result. Still, it is good to know that for Hubby, Yesterday never happened.


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Barbara Diamond is a journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She has been a political activist on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people for over fifty years, having participated in political and humanitarian missions to Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, China, and Europe to meet with world leaders on matters of concern. She has written over 100 articles for the Jerusalem Post and on her blog at The Times of Israel, hosted an English radio talk show in Jerusalem and continues mentoring others to pass on the torch of responsibility. You can reach her at [email protected] and visit her site at