What’s on the menu? [NOT 17/4/21]

overhead view of someone prepping food - cuttting board, some chopped veggies, and a stock pot with ingredients in it

Hi, friends! What’s on the menu this weekend?

I am eating a delicious stir fry with my first bok choy from the garden this weekend and it’s fucking delicious. It makes me so happy! I’ve also been eating salads all week with lettuce and spinach from my patio snacks, too.

(I call the large planters with veggies the my patio snacks)



      • We stuck with Curie and Percy. Turned out they were two boys (we thought it was going to be a boy and a girl) but we decided it still worked. They’re very shy, but sweet. They’ve warmed up a bit over the course of the day. When I go into their room now (without Lil… he still makes them nervous, even though he’s doing a relatively good job of containing his excitement), they let me slowly approach and pet them. It’s still easy to make the wrong move and they dart off to hide. 

  1. The porch is not done. I used the orbital sander first, ended up burning out the cemented-in gross astro turf line…Then two coats of sealer. Two coats of color (equal parts water, outdoor paint, and sealer). It took over 8 hours. Tomorrow is for two more coats of sealer, then replacing the furniture and pots. So no cooking ahead for me. I have salmon and shrimp in the freezer and at least two freezer clean out options. Maybe Chinese delivery one night. I am stiff and sore tonight.

  2. To stick to the theme,  I was going to make nut-crusted chicken breasts tonight but…
    “Mattie, are you getting a little hungry? I thought we were having chicken?”
    “I don’t feel like eating. I’ll make the chicken tomorrow. I’ll make you a sandwich. And you can have the potato salad I made yesterday.” Being me, I dragged out the stovetop grill and made a sauerkraut-free Reuben. While I was hacking away at the loaf of the rye bread I was asked, “This isn’t like you. What’s wrong?”
    “I’m so fucking sick of being sick. I wasn’t like this six months ago. There’s nothing wrong, I don’t have cancer, I don’t have AIDS, I just wish I could get off this medical merry-go-round. And I think something else has come up.”
    “I’ll pour you a glass of wine and wait for you at the table.”
    So I joined him. “Are you in any pain? We can go to the emergency room. You know, we have excellent health insurance.” 
    “I do know that, and I think they look up my insurance coverage and think, ‘we have to cover 100 indigents by law for every Matthew that comes through the door and someone’s got to pay for this’ and they’ll admit me for a week.”
    [Long boring details redacted.] “And only this morning did I realize that my doctor not only referred me [to yet another doctor] but gave me a handwritten prescription/referral for the visiting nurse service. So, my fault for not realizing this, I called them this morning, because the living saints who are the visiting nurses have been visiting me for TWO MONTHS, and they told me to fax the referral.”
    “I said, ‘You’re joking. It’s 2021. I didn’t think it was even legal to hand a patient a handwritten prescription for anything because they’re so easily forged and that’s how addicts get drugs. The office never called you?”
    “Not according to our records, no.” So I called the doctor’s office, but it was Saturday, and everything is only open Monday through Friday. There is an urgent care line. So I spoke to the woman and said, “This isn’t an emergency, but this is a huge bureaucratic nightmare, so I was wondering if you could look up my records and maybe send over the referral to the visiting nurse service, because at some point my insurance company has to get involved for approval and I’d like to be visited on Monday–” “Sir, this is an answering service. If this is an emergency, call 911 or go to an emergency room.”
    “Mattie, eat something. Have some of my Reuben. Or lie down.”
    But no, I decided to hijack this thread and bore you all with personal medical history. What really galled me was, I said to Better Half, “I can’t believe there are people in this country who think a National Insurance scheme could be any worse than this.” 
    “Oh no. When [Company you’ve heard of] transferred me to London for that year we all got private insurance. You don’t want NHS.”
    “You bring this up all the time. You never used the private insurance and you certainly have no experience with the NHS. How would you know the difference?”
    “I heard horror stories…”
    “I’m going to go into the office.” And here I am, ranting and raving away.

    • The only people in this country who have genuine knowledge of single payer health systems and argue against them are the ones who have a financial stake in keeping things just the way they are.  We have worse health outcomes and lower life expectancy than almost every other developed nation–and they all have universal health care in one form or another.  Horror stories my ass.

      • This. The “horror stories” from countries with nationalized health services are always like “I had to wait a couple of months for an appointment with a specialist.” They don’t compare to the horror stories here. Plus we still usually have to wait months for appointments with specialists. 

        • Thing is, due to the economic incentives, it’s actually easier to get a specialist appointment in this country than preventative care because specialists cost a lot more money. You can get an elective knee surgery lickety split but a skin cancer screening or other preventative care appointment can take anywhere from six months to a year. Curing people makes a lot more money than keeping them healthy in the first place. 

          • Sure, makes sense in a morally bankrupt capitalist sort of way. I guess when I say specialist maybe I don’t mean the right sort of thing – it’s specialist according to my insurance, which basically just means not general practice. It can take months to get a dermatologist appointment, or an MRI for knee pain… 

      • I was snacking pretty much the entire day. I hobbled around the apartment all day like a latter-day Norma Desmond throwing open cabinets in my bitter rage. I actually probably ate more than if I had had a proper lunch and dinner (I usually do not snack.) It wasn’t hanger, it was fury that drove me to write this semi-deranged post.

    • My dad is retired. He is now on medicare and had insurance thru his work all his life. But he fishes in Canada so that makes him an expert. A Guy He Knows up there apparently came down here for heart surgery, so that’s an indictment of all socialized medicine. I also have insurance thru work and I think he worries something else would be worse (for me). 

    • I didn’t think it was even legal to hand a patient a handwritten prescription for anything because they’re so easily forged and that’s how addicts get drugs.

      Ha! You sir, clearly do not have to deal with ADHD meds. Every other prescription can be sent directly from doctor to pharmacy, but controlled substances HAVE to be on a piece of paper physically handed to the patient, who then has to physically take it to the pharmacy. How is this more secure? It’s fairly baffling, but is supposed to avoid people other than the patient stealing the prescription. And obviously it’s incredibly ADHD-friendly to make someone run multiple errands every single month to get their medicine that helps them do basic life tasks. (Did I mention you also can’t get more than a month at a time, and you can’t fill it before the day you run out?)
      Ugh. So sick of it. It’s my husband, so of course these tasks generally fall to me as the member of the couple capable of running errands on a schedule. 

      • The first I learned of this was something like a decade ago when I needed something anodyne, like blood pressure medication (I’m on lisinopril.) We switched insurance and under the old plan I used to get a year’s worth doled out in three-month increments mailed to me. Under the new plan (and there have been three or four since; I get my insurance through the Better Half so every year there’s a “benefits review” and anything to save the company a few bucks is what they go with, no matter the disruption to the employees) this ended, there’s no drugs-by-mail option, and you can only get a month’s worth by physically presenting yourself at a “pharmacy.” As if CVS isn’t like a glorified 7-11 with a little side hobby in pharmaceuticals. The doctor asked me for the address and phone number of the nearby CVS I was thinking of. 
        “I don’t know. I’ve never picked up a prescription there before. It’s at the corner of X Avenue and Y Street. Can’t you just give me the prescription and I’ll bring it in  and set up some kind of recurring program?”
        “No, because–” and that doctor explained that he wasn’t allowed to write out prescriptions because of forgery; the office would have to call it in. “This is lisinopril. You can’t get addicted to it and it doesn’t do anything mood-altering or anything.” “Blame the Sackler family for this mess.”

    • @MatthewCrawley, the fax thing is bizarre and not just you. It took me three weeks and five calls to two doctors to get a referral appointment for the ENT (in another three weeks) because the family doctor’s fax machine was acting up. They said that it looked like the fax was sent but it wasn’t sent. This was a regular problem for them. I was nonplussed by their casual attitude and glad that I wasn’t in need of emergency treatment. I hear you. Feel better, my friend.

      • I just need to calm down, wait for Monday, and get the bureaucratic machine moving again. Although I’m telling you, I’m sure there were Civil War soldiers shot in the chest and treated in battleground field hospitals and they recovered more quickly than this is going.

  3. Ah, the joys of early season harvests.  We’re not quite ready yet, but in the next few weeks we should have asparagus and start initial onion harvesting.

    Made some macaroni salad today to get rid of the carrots and celery.  Will be working on another of my Grandmother’s recipes this week.

      • Actually, thinking about it, I’m going to amend my comment. When the Faithful Hound had leg surgery five years ago the veterinary surgeon actually wrote a prescription for Oxycodone. Ten pills, no refills, and if Faithful Hound was feeling in pain and distress we were to cut one in half and give him that, no more than once a day, and in three weeks he should be healed, so he got a 20-day prescription. We never ended up using the Oxycodone; the Faithful Hound is a very stoic beast. 
        The vet said, “I have to make it for one of you, so who’s it going to be?” Take charge Better Half said, “Me. I’ll get it.” BH is the prosperous-looking middle-aged guy that he is. Problem is, he’s a Black male. He was practically taken in to the Star Chamber and put under investigation by the pharmacist. It was insane.
        When I had my own surgery two months ago I was given two prescriptions for painkillers, one for a souped-up version of Tylenol and one for the equivalent of Advil. The hospital called it in; they wouldn’t give me a paper prescription. 
        This is all very strange.

  4. In myrtle on vaca at the ‘rents.  Wifey is seasoning a brisket with mom for the smoker for tomorrow. Just walked the dog on the 1st fairway in the dark (they live on a golf course), man was that trippy. 

  5. I forgot to take bread out of the freezer for toast so I used up the last of the whole grain pancake mix [king arthur flour recipe] and made waffles. I used flax milk and they are delicious. I bought the flax milk to have a shelf stable milk for emergencies, it is unsweetened but strangely sweet, I tried using it in coffee [meh] and leek and potato soup [marginally better]. I’m going to make a whole wheat sandwich bread today with it – I’ll let you know how it works out.

    • I also just tried flax milk recently! I don’t love it though. My usual is hemp milk, but the store was out. The flax milk immediately separates on contact with coffee, and I think the taste is odd. 

      • I noticed that as well when I put it in coffee. Have you tried oat milk? I added some oat milk and oat milk creamer to my misfit’s market box to try. I’m going to watch for hemp milk though, you like it?

        • Oat milk is good, especially Oatly brand (though I think Oatly might only come refrigerated – I don’t think there’s a shelf stable version). Coconut milk based stuff is my favorite, as far as taste and creaminess goes. I use hemp milk because it’s good as a vegetarian for another omega 3 source. (Flax is good for that too, but turns out I don’t like it as much.) I wouldn’t rate it first in terms of flavor, but it’s good and has the best nutrition value for me. It has a slightly grassy flavor, which I’m ok with. 

  6. i got a really good deal on a block of cheese…$4 for 1kg
    figured…sweet! dont need to worry about cheese for a little while
    ended up having to buy pre sliced cheese anyway as it turns out im the only person in this house capable of using a cheese slicer without risking a trip to the E.R
    its a cheese slicer…not rocket science…how hard can it be?

    • I had to teach a college roommate how to use a cheese grater. Apparently they’d never had anything but the pre-shredded cheese sold in the bags and the poor friend was just flummoxed about the whole way to efficiently use a cheese grater.

      • same deal here i guess.. cept neither the missus or daughter can use the cheese slicer without taking chunks out of their hands
        baffling to me as both of them are pretty damn good artists…sooo..i figure its not that they lack the really not all that fine motor skills required to use a cheese slicer
        i mean….they can use the potato peeler just fine?…its the same basic principle?

Leave a Reply