Limitations (In Other Words, Don’t Limit Me!)

This evening the Everyman embarks on his first real business trip, (to Hartford, of all places) and will be gone for the majority of the week.  It’ll probably be the longest we’ve been apart since we began courting in 2005.  That may seem strange to some, but what can I say… I’m a captivating lady!

One of the things I’m looking forward to while he’s away is the opportunity to indulge in foods and flavors that he never wants (or likes) to try (not to mention the week-long moratorium on sports and video games).  Things like sushi, seafood, fish, pate, eggs, mushrooms, nuts (he’s allergic) and most anything Asian are normally off limits in our house.  Even though I do all of the cooking, I’m gracious enough not to force food on him that I know he won’t like or might kill him (unlike my parents, who had the you’ll eat what we give you mentality).  At home today there are shrimp and scallops, black bean sauce, miso paste and udon just calling my name.  I can’t wait to go home and get crazy in the kitchen with them.  Unfortunately, one of the things I want most, I’m no longer allowed to have…

Growing up in White Rock, my dad and I used to go crabbing off the pier at night.  We’d bring home the night’s catch, clean it and have a fine feast at around 2 in the morning.  There’s almost nothing I loved better or remember more fondly from childhood than those midnight jaunts, both from a culinary and bonding standpoint.  Then, about 10 years ago things changed while I was at a farewell dinner for an old friend, happily cracking a giant mound of king crab legs.  That night my throat swelled up so badly that I couldn’t even breathe and had to be taken to the hospital.  At the time, the ER nurse just gave me a needle and didn’t mention anything of consequence, so I didn’t put 2 and 2 together to realize I’d developed an allergy.  After several more incidents involving crab cakes, (which thankfully were less severe) I realized what the issue was and haven’t touched crab since.  When the Everyman and I were in Panama in ’07, I’d ordered a lobster dinner (incidentally what they brought me wasn’t lobster, but wasn’t crab either) and I had a reaction to that too.  The same thing happened after a Valentine’s dinner at Mistura last year, with a butter poached lobster tail risotto.  The writing was officially on the wall; I could no longer enjoy 2 of my favorite kinds of seafood.  Boooooo!!!

Luckily for me, I can still eat scallops, prawns and shrimp, and never bothered to develop a taste for mussels, oysters or clams.  Occasionally I miss crab claws or cakes (being more partial to them than lobster) but then I usually remember my mother in law, who developed a wheat allergy late in life.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to not be able to eat real bread.  The only thing that gets me down is the thought that when I finally manage to get to The Big Easy, I might not be able to try my first crayfish.  In reality, I’ll probably just suck down a pile and deal with the Epi-pen instead… you know, I just don’t like things limiting me.

Another thing I’ll be working on this week is what I refer to as the new project folder.  Between reading, writing and browsing the internet lately, my mind’s come up with combinations of flavors I want to try that I usually scribble down furiously in my journal before they evaporate away.  I have a few different items I’m planning to test (more on that in a later post), in addition to possibly taking another stab at the bacon jam, now that I think I’ve worked out the trick to it.  And I’ve already gone halfway through my chocolate covered guanciale toffee, but barely touched the nude version.  It’s become quite apparent that I’ll have to break out the handy dandy chocolate melter again soon to gussy that stuff up.

Tonight I think I’ll combine some scallops with my lemon pickle (which is really more of a jam at this point) and see what kind of result that illicits.  I’ll also be working on a write-up of our latest visit to Cowbell (just this past weekend), and my take on another Toronto blogger’s post on things to do with grilled cheese.

Until next time…

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