Last week, my husband and I drove five hours down to Boston to visit his family for Thanksgiving.
It took some convincing, but we had finally talked his mother into letting us make something to bring to dinner on Thursday. Then again, she finally agreed only because I would be allergic to both desserts that people had already signed up to bring. Both had nuts, oats, or both, and then I’d be left out of dessert, which made his mother feel a bit bad. As soon as she agreed, I immediately set out to find the perfect dessert.
What’s interesting to work with are others’ dietary needs. His sister is very lactose intolerant. His father is on a low FODMAPs diet. And I really can’t eat oats, barley, or nuts without feeling ill for a few days after, and large amounts of lactose disagree with me. So I pretty much found myself in the unique position of being able to eat almost anything that the other two could eat, but not being able to eat almost anything that they can. At home, I can substitute wheat flakes for rolled oats and cracked wheat for steel-cut oats, but I can’t do that for my father-in-law. And I find myself really, really wanting to impress his family. We’ve been married for over two years (and dated for more than two years before that), but there’s this small part of me that really wants to find ways to make them super happy with me. My husband kept stressing to me that they would have something that everyone could eat, and that I should just find something that I (and everyone but his father and/or sister) could eat… But I told him that I had this dream of being able to walk in, pie held high, announcing that I’d found the holy grail of desserts.
After a few hours of pulling my hair out, I managed to find the perfect recipe: A lemon tart, the crust of which was made from brown rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, brown sugar, vegetable shortening, and an egg, and filling made of lemon juice, eggs, and shortening. I also made a blueberry sauce to drizzle over it. When we brought it over for Thanksgiving, my father-in-law asked what I had made, and apparently he was quite pleased when he’d heard it was a tart; apparently he hadn’t had one for a long time, so he started looking forward to eating it.
The meal, of course, was wonderful, and it was lovely being able to spend so much time with his family. Even though I’m still somewhat stuck in “needing to impress them” mode, they’re great to hang out with. I mean, when it comes down to it, this is the family that raised him…good doesn’t usually come from bad, so logically, they’re great people.
We arrived back in upstate New York at around 7PM on Saturday. I was sore from the long drive. Neither of us felt like cooking, and we had already made a point of using up almost anything perishable by the time we left last Wednesday. So we got takeout. Sunday, we went grocery shopping after I scrambled to put together a shopping list, because truth be told, there aren’t enough takeout options to keep us happy through the week until we did our typical Saturday shop.
On the menu this week: Penne with dolled-up tomato sauce (take a jar of marinara and add a bunch of stuff to it to make it taste better than store-bought) and stuffed peppers.
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