I cooked dinner.
This is a big fat deal.
I didn’t have a gun to my head. I wasn’t having people over that I was trying to impress, or at least give the impression that I eat like a normal person.
I just was craving the chicken tacos that I used to make, and, this is almost as remarkable as the fact that I cooked: as I was thinking about how good they sounded I realized that, without going to the store, I had all of the stuff at home to make them. I had grocery shopped a few weeks ago, and had had the foresight to think that this day was possibly coming, so I had planned for it.
Let me tell you why this is such a big deal.
Remember the spatula war? Part of that was my being mad that all my stuff had disappeared and that his stuff had replaced it in my kitchen. Part of the solution was for me to get my butt out of his kitchen. I rarely cooked while we were married, and when I did, I felt like either the sous chef, or like I was using his stuff. Other than the usual things married people fight about (finances and children), the kitchen was one of our main sources of conflict. I got in trouble when I scratched one of his pots on the BOTTOM. I got in trouble when one of the lids of the pots ended up with a dent in it. I had seen it when I unloaded the dishwasher and knew he was going to be pissed, but had no idea how the dent had ended up there (and hadn’t been the one to load the dishwasher in the first place). When he asked me about it later, I said, “I knew you were going to be mad at me about that! I didn’t do anything to your stupid pot!” But really, how can I complain about someone who took such good care of me that I never had to cook, or even do meal planning or go to the grocery store? I had amazing gourmet food regularly.
Then, he died, and now the only kitchen stuff I have is his. Even though I’ve moved it twice, and everything is exactly where I put it the last time, I still feel like I’m not really welcome there. Like they’re still his things. He didn’t really like to share his good stuff.
So, since I’ve been widowed, I’ve cooked about 4 times. One of the times that I’m counting is a frozen pizza. I’m not kidding. I eat lots of Lean Cuisine. I eat lots of Chipotle. It’s just easier. It’s easier than the pain of dealing with being in the kitchen.
But not today. Today Rotel Chicken Tacos were worth more than the pain of using his stuff. What’s weird is that this was my recipe, and something that I would make for the two of us often (We would laugh because he was not allowed to cook us Mexican food. With parents from New Mexico my tastes are more toward the green chili, spicy side, his were a little more gringo), and it’s so, so easy. The hardest part is chopping tomatoes and whatever else is going to go on top. But they were his knives I was using to chop. It was his cutting board. I was stirring with his spoon. He had tried to teach me a trick once for cutting cherry tomatoes and I hadn’t listened. I hadn’t paid attention because I thought he would always be there to cut them for me. So now, it takes me forever to cut tomatoes. At the end, I was exhausted (I think more emotionally, then anything else). It took everything out of me.
But, they were delicious, and I was glad I did it. A little at a time, I’m getting there.
Rotel Chicken Tacos
In a small crock-pot, place two chicken breasts and one can of Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chili. Let cook all day on low, then shred the chicken. Yep, that’s it. They’re that easy. (Best served as soft tacos, with pico de gallo, cheese and guacamole and whatever other taco toppings your little heart desires!) Now place the back of your hand to your forehead and say dramatically, like Scarlet O'Hara, “I slaved all day.”