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April 15, 2019

This weekend the Fussies did our taxes. Yeah. We could have done some yard work, or engaged in cooking projects. But instead we paid a bunch of money to some tax software company, and spent hours answering inane questions about our finances over the past year.

Despite all the changes to the tax code, and all the hand wringing, this year was pretty much exactly like last year. Taxes weren’t simpler to prepare. While some things went up, other things went down, and we ended up pretty much in the same place as we were a year ago.

I guess that makes us lucky.

Some people took a hit. Others, I assume, ended up in a better position. I’ll take being financially unaffected by the madness to be a financial win. But really, it feels like we’re all losing.

There was something else that was taxing about this weekend, unlike the story of my actual taxes, this one has a food component to it.

On Sunday, Little Miss Fussy and I took a drive down to Providence for a few hours, to attend a concert in memory of my Aunt Nora. All told, it was close to six hours of driving for a five hour visit. But family is important.

When traveling with Mrs. Fussy, there’s some pressure to eat quickly and get back on the road. Usually this results in trying to figure out what the best options are in the food courts of the rest stops. And hey, thanks to that I got to nurture a new disdain for the individual pan pizza at Pizza Hut. Plus I can now also say the most disgusting thing I’ve put in my mouth in the past ten years is the grilled chicken sandwich from Wendy’s.

Dear God. Please don’t make me go into the details. They’re just too painful.

However, when Little Miss Fussy and I are left to our own devices, taking a few minute detour for a promising food option is no big deal. Actually, before we left I did a little bit of research. What I was looking for was some place that made her favorite tofu pudding.

Some people call it douhua, but that’s a shortened form of doufuhua, which I understand is really 豆腐花. The boy is learning Chinese, so maybe he could help me read those characters. Still, it’s hard to find north of New York City and south of Montreal. There is a version available locally at Lucky Corner in Troy, but it’s microwaved in a plastic container, which gives the whole thing an off taste that still shines through an assertively peppery ginger syrup.

If there’s douhua off Interstate 90 that’s available on a Sunday, I missed it. Instead we went to a place called The Beef Barn, and I fell in love.

After the concert, there were some cookies and sweets, including a mystery cookie that Little Miss Fussy and I properly identified as an egg nog cookie. One of the guests asked if egg nog cookies were actually a thing. And while I had no idea, I was absolutely sure that what I held in my hand was indeed an egg nog cookie.

Then came family dinner.

It was just me and Little Miss Fussy, and at an Italian American restaurant we came up with a strategy to maximize our potential joy and minimize the potential tragedy of dinner. The idea was to get a few small plates of standards, and share them. Meatballs were available as an appetizer. The waitress was willing to get the girl a half order of fettuccine with oil and garlic. And house made pork sausage was available as a side.

I had imagined that a half order of pasta would be plenty for two people, and that was indeed correct. And even splitting some of the meatballs with my nephew, we still brought home an entire meatball and an entire sausage.

Seriously, portions are crazy out of control.

In the car ride home, while listening to the second disc of Hamilton, we talked about our ordering strategy. Because while it resulted in a dinner that was okay, it was based on trying to get the best food for a child, as opposed to exposing a child to some of the better food on the menu. The good news is that Little Miss Fussy has begun to trust me more and more when it comes to food. So in the future, we may try splitting whatever I think looks like the best thing on the menu, with a few additional parameters.

I’m keenly aware of her preferences and prejudices when it comes to food. So while a white pizza might be okay, a margarita pizza would be a nonstarter. And while she can tolerate a certain level of heat, the idea of sweet and savory flavors combined in a dish aren’t appealing.

Having these conversations is amazing, and I’m delighted to share these culinary experiences with my kids. Even if it means I have to drive for hours to make it so.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2019 12:29 pm

    What does Little Miss Fussy like on a white pizza?

    • April 15, 2019 12:40 pm

      I’m not 100% sure, and I’m just spitballing here, but I bet she would love it topped with reggiano, red onions, pistachio, rosemary, and olive oil. :-)

      Although she’s the meat lover. So also sausage. Or prosciutto. Just so long as there weren’t any leafy greens on the pie.

      Actually, the more I play around with ideas in my head about what she might love the most, I’m going pesto and prosciutto, with a few capers thrown on for good measure. Ooh, and garnished with nasturtium.

      Or maybe a ricotta, garlic, olive oil, and speck?

  2. April 15, 2019 1:13 pm

    Wow. Hard to believe she has the same favorite as you! That’s lucky.

    Pesto, caper, prosciutto sounds interesting. Recently saw a broccoli, blue cheese, mozz, garlic/parsley/olive oil emulsion pizza that looked good and is on my to-try list.

    Had to Google nasturtium. I don’t currently have a local supplier…is there one?

    • April 16, 2019 12:54 am

      I’ve seen them around. In season I think you may even be able to get them at P-Chops.

      There was a white potato and bacon pie that I had which was fantastic. While it may sound a little out there, one of these days I’d like to try a white pie with pork dumpling filling.

      • Jon in Albany permalink
        April 16, 2019 10:02 am

        I know a place where you can try almost any topping you want if you bring it.

        Haven’t had a potato/bacon pie since I was a kid. Should give that a try too sometime.

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