A year ago yesterday, we donned our wedding attire and headed out to celebrate our anniversary at one of St. Louis’ top-ranked, award-winning restaurants. A place known for a small, seasonal menu, top quality ingredients, and prices to match.
Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, these food
snobs connoisseurs found that the dinner did not live up to the hype. Our meal was good, but nothing to write home about. We ordered our standard “a few dishes to share,” but Matthew felt the atmosphere and attitude of the staff was not conducive to this, which further downgraded the experience.
Enter last night, and a much better anniversary dinner in our own kitchen, lovingly prepared by chef Matthew: marinated tofu and pear salad, pumpkin lasagna, and apple pie for dessert.* Complete with candles, wine, and a nice, relaxed atmosphere, we agreed it was a major upgrade from last year. That type of a dinner for two would easily cost $70+. We enjoyed a delicious dinner for a fraction of the price, with most of a large pan of lasagna to enjoy later in the week.
While having a baby requires compromises and cutting back in some areas, we’re finding it’s essential to continue some activities from before baby. For us, growing, cooking, and eating amazing food (okay, mostly Matthew on the “growing” aspect) fall into that category. Yes, we are both exhausted and time is precious, but for us, this is worth it. While in some ways it makes life more crazy, in other ways it helps preserve our sanity.
*Meal ingredients from the garden: mixed greens for the salad, “pumpkin” puree (technically some variety of winter squash), onions, Swiss chard, and sage. Other local ingredients: pears and apples.
I’m planning a full recipe post later, but we adapted this recipe to make our pumpkin lasagna, using our homemade pasta for the noodles.
OMG, Pumpkin Lasagna is next on my list to try.
You know, my Grandmother was an AMAZING cook, and she came from a time when a good home cooked meal was considered the pinnacle of culinary achievement. “Restaurant fare” was what you had to settle for when you were traveling or if circumstances somehow prevented you from enjoying real home cooking.
A few years ago I made dinner for a friend. Her comment was “Wow, this tastes like something you’d get at a restaurant!” She meant it as a compliment, but I just couldn’t help but think how offended my grandmother would have been if you’d told her that her cooking tasted like it came from a restaurant.
I just think it’s interesting and sad how our crazy culture has managed to turn that whole equation on its head.
I’ll try to post the recipe soon. It does seem like cooking is making at least a bit of a comeback — there may yet be hope!