I love cooking for my family. I really do. I love the look on their face when a perfectly plated dinner lands right in front of them. I love the delighted expressions when, “Oh wow, there’s dessert too!”
But you know what? I love cooking for myself too. The husband is out tonight, a company dinner despite a good four inches of snow. The car’s gone, I’m not in the mood for takeout, and a gorgeous salmon steak from Canada is singing to me from the fridge. My husband doesn’t like salmon steak, the threat of bones demolishes his pleasure. Not so for me. I think I was a fat, spoiled cat in a previous life because I love sucking the last bit of meat and fat off the bone. For salmon, the steak is by far my favorite cut. But I rarely cook it for Jeff, because when I do, there is this slight inkling of guilt knowing that he would prefer something else.
He’s not here now, and I’ve got the kitchen all to myself. As soon as the work day is over, I just steal into the kitchen and pull out a single, perfect salmon steak. I dress it with lemon butter, garlic, green onions and salt. It’s a gorgeously simple preparation, recipe here. I heat the oven to 400° F. I feel a little guilty using the oven for such a small meal, but it’s more like a sneaky pleasure than real guilt. It feels like I’m treating myself to an extravagance. It feels like a pair of red stilettos. While the salmon’s cooking, I pull out the brussels sprouts. Half them, clean them, toss them into boiling water. Within 15 minutes, everything is done. The sprouts are mashed with butter, salt and sour cream. I pile them onto a clean white plate, prop the salmon right on top and smile.
I love cooking for my family, but sometimes, you just need to cook for yourself.