And I think my mother-in-law wishes I would be nicer, too. That's something we have in common. After a recent conversation with my dear friend "Hester*" though, I've stopped spending so much time wishing I was nicer. She was talking about someone we both know, who shall remain nameless for reasons that will be clear momentarily. After a swig or three of beer, Hester said,
"You know, I hope this doesn't come out the wrong way, because I like her and all. She's smart and gorgeous and really funny. I love hanging out with her, but she's kind of an a**hole, isn't she?"
This was said with a smile and a huge dose of respect. It was a light bulb moment for me. I realized that Hester has more fun than a lot of people I know, because she doesn't rule someone out as a friend just because they're "kind of an a**hole." Hester understands that a**holes can be the most fun. They usually have great ideas and great jokes. And you can't really offend them. She went on to explain that she preferred that they weren't a**holes to her...too often.
I think my mother-in-law shares her philosophy. I'm probably not her ideal daughter-in-law: I'm not French, I don't feed her son well enough, I'm not French, I don't let her keep my children for weeks at a time, I'm not French. I think she might prefer a French partner for her son, but what can you do? One thing I do that she loves is cook leftovers. Leftovers drive her nuts. She doesn't like them taking up room in the fridge and she can't bring herself to throw them out, so she eats them, even if it's something she despises. And the French despise a lot of things. I share Maman's distaste for leftovers. I don't want to eat them or throw them away. Over the years, I've learned to turn leftovers into all new food.
Last night, we had an impromptu fondue party...which was "fon" to "due." Did you like that pun? I did. I highly recommend the impromptu fondue party**. When I was getting ready, I found leftover cream cheese and sour cream, which I used to make dip for potato chips, as an appetizer. Dip is fun to make and easy. All you need to make dip is some white creamy products, like mayo, cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt. As far as I can tell, it doesn't make a difference what you use or how much. This time, I added cumin, turmeric, cayenne and garlic salt, I think. I was out of curry powder, but no one complained. It was yummy with all of the chips we had: sweet potato and beet, cheddar jalapeño, and plain old. I was hungry when I went shopping, so I bought a lot of chips. I like chips, okay?
There was a lot of asparagus left over the next day. I also had some whole milk we had needed for an oven pancake and an onion of unknown origins. I also have a ton of turkey stock that I made after Thanksgiving and can't use because sixty-six and two-thirds percent of my children have become vegetarians. So I made soup, for me! I sautéed the leftover chopped onion and blanched asparagus in butter. I added a few cups of turkey stock and a lot of lemon pepper. I let that boil, then puréed it with the pbrrrt. I stirred in some of the milk and squeezed the juice from two key limes into the soup for added flavor. The key limes were left over from a bag I bought and used part of for a floral arrangement. The soup was good and it was composed entirely of leftovers! Hooray! Maman would have been proud.
** And here is my secret. Impromptu is easy because, after years of grating all the cheeses and making my own, I discovered that the boxed fondue has the exact same ingredients as mine. Who knew? I serve it with asparagus, sliced apples, baby carrots (my kids are into those) and chunks of bread. I like the multi-grain Take and Bake from the Piggly Wiggly.