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Growing Old With The Fussies

July 27, 2015

What do you get the woman who has everything? It’s a good question, but that’s not terribly relevant today. Today is Mrs. Fussy’s birthday! Somehow, over the years, my child-bride has turned into an old lady. But she’s my old lady, and I love her to pieces.

There’s something odd about the perception of time. It seems to stand still. None of my childhood friends seem old to me. They pretty much look like the way they’ve always looked. Sure, thanks to the magic of Facebook, I can see some of my more distant acquaintances. And man, some of them have surely aged. But my friends? They are young forever.

Mrs. Fussy is the same way. So I joke about her being old. Actually, we both joke about being old. This weekend we were talking about something “all the kids are doing these days” and then realized by “kids” we were thinking of people in their late 20s and early 30s. I think that’s the definition of old.

But you probably don’t want to hear a mushy love note to my wife. You’re more likely interested in hearing about what I’m getting her for a present, and what I put together for her impromptu birthday party. At least some of it was delicious.

For the most part, the party was catered by Trader Joe’s. I’m classy like that. Man, I do love that store though. I picked up summer squash and eggplant for the grill. Mrs. Fussy likes the quinoa black bean chips with hatch green chili salsa. It’s a good place to get hamburger and hot dog buns that aren’t full of junk. TJ’s has the good applegate organic hot dogs too.

Really, the only problem is the hamburgers.

The ground meat at Trader Joe’s looks disgusting. To put it in more descriptive terms, it more closely resembles extruded bubble gum than anything involving the flesh of a cow. Its tight pink strands are coiled around inside airtight styrofoam packages, and it makes me think of everything that’s wrong with the world.

They did have some packages of “organic ground beef” that at least had a more natural color and distinct pieces of meat and fat. The idea of “organic” beef kind of makes me crazy. I suspect that it represents marketing hype more than responsible husbandry, but I was in a rush and my options were limited. Sometimes you have to make do with the best you can find.

All of this went on my crappy gas grill, which despite all predictions is still doing remarkably well in its second season. Although to be fair, we haven’t been using it all that often. In fact, this weekend marks the first time we had to refill the tank.

I’m still not great at grillwork. Some of the eggplant rounds got pushed a little too far. Yet still people really enjoyed the crispness of the “chips”. I did a good bit better on the squash and even got some great cross hatching on those sides.

The burgers were anybody’s guess. In theory, I know how to gauge temperature by touch. But I need more practice. My confidence is low in that regard. But I didn’t kill anyone, nor did anybody leave their burger uneaten. In my eyes, that was a success.

My preference is towards very rare burgers, but I’ve come to realize that I’m the outlier. So, much like I overcook scrambled eggs when making them for others, I do the same with ground meat patties.

Of course, the showpiece of the evening was the cake ordered from Crisan. We had guests over who thought the beloved bakery had gone out of business, and they were thrilled to learn that it’s still totally open for pre-ordered treats. I’ve tampered with the picture to share the image below.

Cake Edited

After running through some options over email with Claudia, Mrs. Fussy decided upon an orange cake with strawberry buttercream. Little did we know that it also came with a caramel sauce that I was instructed to warm before serving. I would have been very happy with just the jar of caramel sauce and a spoon. The smell of the burnt sugar was exhilerating.

Damn diet. I allowed myself a modest sized slice, and it was delicious. But as much as I would have loved snacking on the rest of the cake for the next couple of days, I packed up the leftovers for some of our guests to bring home.

Today, there will be no cake. It’s the downside of celebrating your birthday on a day when it’s not your birthday. Today, there will only be notes of love — like this one — dinner out, and presents.

But Mrs. Fussy reads this thing every day, so I dare not spill the beans as to what she’s getting. Much like her, I’m going to have to hold you in suspense. But I’ll let you know tomorrow.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Shoshi permalink
    July 27, 2015 10:35 am

    Happy Birthday, B!

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