You remember Tasha right? The woman with the keto gumbo? Well, she did it again! I’ve been feeling under the weather this week, and the best way that chefs say “I love you, feel better” is by cooking for the sickly. We’d talked about fried chicken, but since I need to fit into my engagement party dress, such delights are off the menu until January 1st. She’d mentioned having made ribs for her family a couple weeks prior, something I literally haven’t eaten in years. But habits developed by four years in the Holy Land kicked in, and so did my aversion towards pork. So those were out too, and she was pulling her always fabulous hair out.
I said I would like to eat beef ribs if possible, thinking of those huge pieces of cow side you can buy at Berkeley Bowl for not too much money. And so we didn’t talk about it further until yesterday when she came to my tiny apartment armed with a large moving box that smelled suspiciously delicious. “Oh Tasha, what have you done?” was my first thought. Then I remembered her tendency towards generous portions and reached for my stretchy polka dotted skirt in preparation for what was to be delightful meal.
So we walked through the building, she armed with a case of short ribs and I with the ice cube tray that I was deemed well enough to carry, and we got to work. I soporifically broke down a few veggies that were hanging out in my fridge and tossed them with tajin, olive oil, and nothing else. I recently discovered the existence of tajin, fruit, and chamoy curtesy of my business partner, and was hooked. The chili lime seasoning, sweet and sour sauce, and summer fruits were a match made in Mexican food heaven. Surprisingly enough, and Trader Joe’s seems to agree, chili and lime accompany many things well, and that includes my Brussel sprout and summer squash medley. Still, I was tired and honestly didn’t put that much love into the side dish. It was regardless tasty and necessary to cut the richness of the meal that was to follow.
My back was turned and so I didn’t see Tasha puttering around getting food on plates in my micro kitchen, and how the two of us fit it with relative ease. But I spun around to ask Tasha about her upcoming hair appointment, and my jaw dropped. Our plates were full to the brim with cauliflower mash, short ribs that were beyond falling off the bone, and my cute little veggies. I was so excited, no one ever cooks for me save my two lady besties, Liz and Tasha. Everyone else gets intimidated, but the truth is that I love when people make me food, even if it’s terrible.
And so we ate, and I swear I was moved to tears and a goofy smile. Sure, the short ribs were perfectly cooked, and what is hardly the most exciting vegetable was pureed and creamed to immaculate decadence, but it was the love that this wonderful woman had put into her dish that was in the forefront of this eating experience. She tried to tell me that I was exaggerating, that the savoriness of the ribs was created by a mesquite spice blend and a sear and crockpot technique, but I knew better. That sassy smile tells all.
Sure, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You can be the best chef in the world but if you’re angry the day that you cook for your best friend, they’re going to feel your wrath in every bite. Case in point-I was angry when I made Irish soda bread as a gift for Liz last time I was in Israel, and she called later on that day and asked if I needed to talk about something. Blush.