The moment I walked through the door, I knew I was in deep trouble.
I smelled beets boiling on the stove.
She knows I hate beets.
Some say they were designed by Satan himself. He needed something extraordinarily repulsive for the cauldrons of hell and many consider them his best work – but I disagree.
It is the boiling of beets that was Beelzebub’s most diabolical creation. Boiling them destroys any semblance of texture and reduces an already repugnant food to a gelatinous mass with the aftertaste of burnt chalk.
There is nothing on earth I despise more than beets.
So why was she cooking them?
What had I done to deserve this?
What had I failed to do?
Boiling beets as punishment for wrongdoing may sound passive aggressive – but I assure you it is not.
Every good marriage is founded on sound communication and deep trust but every loving relationship also rests upon a bedrock of annoyances.
It drives her crazy when I toss my sweaty ball cap onto the kitchen counter after walking the dog. On the other hand, I fly into a rage when I find January’s power bill under the couch in June because she had scattered mail about the house.
But the war over these things ended decades ago.
These are behaviors we will never give up. We each ceded enough ground and will defended the turf we stand on to the end.
So there is nothing left to do but tolerate each other.
But that only works for so long.
Over time, the grievances pile up until the weight of forbearance overcomes the strength of tolerance – that is when forgiveness and forgetting fails us.
It is also when the beets come out.
So to restore balance to my marriage, I knew just what to do.
She loves pork chops. It is her favorite thing to eat.
So the next day, I went to Nick’s meat market and selected their best cuts. I sprinkled the chops with YaYa spice and let them simmer slowly over the grill. After the meat turned to a golden brown, I sliced it into long thin strips. This I added to a sauce pan already sizzling over a low heat with carrots, asparagus and broccoli. As the vegetables softened and soaked up the taste of pork, I carefully sliced crisp red, green and yellow peppers into half moon shapes and layered them in the pan.
There is nothing in the world she hates more than peppers.
She despises them.
About as much as I hate beets.