A Table Divided Cannot Stand (Recipe Review)

As a notorious omnivore, I like everything from hearty meat and potatoes meals to light salads. I’m also of the opinion that any time you can cram another fruit or vegetable in a dish, you’ve done yourself a good service. My husband is not a huge fan of light salads, light, brothy soups, or what he would refer to as “veggie-intensive” meals. I am. So I thought this pasta-veggie soup, which starts by rendering fat from a bit of Pancetta, would be a great compromise of a dish. The soup calls for a head of escarole, to be chopped and then wilted in the hot broth.

Here’s where the funny/gross part comes in, depending on how much one enjoys “veggie-intensive” meals…I bought a head of escarole, and it was literally the biggest head of escarole I have ever seen. It really wasn’t a head of escarole, it was more like magnificent afro of escarole. Erykah Badu would look at it and say “Damn. I need that escarole.” Seriously, it was ridiculously big (and gorgeous).

Like this, but more magnificent. A LION'S MANE of escarole!

Like this, but more magnificent. A LION’S MANE of escarole!

So I made soup according to directions, adding the escarole at the last minute and letting it wilt a bit before serving. Normally a big bunch of greens would take no time to wilt. But I brought the soup to the table with the escarole still looking a tiny bit perky. Aside from that, there was a just a HUGE amount of it. Now, the idea of sitting down to a big bowl of greens floating in a flavorful tomato-chicken broth with pasta and cheese sounds terrific to me…but it’s the kind of thing that resonates less with hubby. So that meal did not go over well.

That being said, I think the recipe is an absolute winner. I’d give the broth a chance to simmer a bit more than the recipe calls for and I’d season it generously. I’d also make sure to let the escarole swim in the hot tub a bit before serving, but those tweaks aside, it’s a really healthy, satisfying dinner. And, like all things of this nature, it benefits from an overnighter in the fridge. The flavors really get a chance to develop and–wow–what a lovely lunch…even if the pasta does lose its toothsomeness.

So, I was wondering: Any ideas on how to cope with a “divided table?” How do you balance the needs of one person with another? Ideas? Stories? Recipes?

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12 thoughts on “A Table Divided Cannot Stand (Recipe Review)

  1. So, I was wondering: Any ideas on how to cope with a “divided table?” How do you balance the needs of one person with another? Ideas? Stories? Recipes?

    My wife and I have fairly different tastes, and I do all the cooking. I mostly compromise by making stuff that I can leave the spices/ingredients she doesn’t like or can’t eat as a separate portion that I can add to my own stuff. Stuff like making tacos and fajitas normally but cooking the peppers/onions/spicier bits in a separate pan just for me. She also doesn’t like as much cheese as I do, so I keep that separate. That seems to work out OK for us.

    She also insists we use healthier ingredients so we end up with whole grain pasta, brown/wild rice, chicken/turkey sausage, not much red meat, etc. where I would be happy with the “bad for you” stuff. I’m cool with it since I can eat whatever I want and not gain any weight and she can’t — and it’s not like eating the healthier stuff is a bad thing for me.

    Stuff she really doesn’t like I just cook when she’s not around (or have when we go out).

  2. My wife, who does a majority of the basic meal preparation (I only cook fun meals and bake all the desserts), has been begrudgingly eating much healthier due to me. Since she has to suffer through all the low sodium meals featuring whole wheat pasta, fish, chicken, and ground turkey on my behalf, I make certain that any weekend “cheat” meal is one of her absolute favorites. So, I’ve been bringing home a lot of take out on Saturdays nights from her favorite Indian restaurant, which is by far her favorite ethnic food.

  3. Escarole is one of my all-time favorite things ever. I think the key to coping with a divided table is to prepare a couple of different things, so the diners can pick and choose what they want (you can eat the thing hubby wants as an appetizer, and vice-versa). A few years back, I dated a girl who was totally spice-averse (and I’m not even taking “heat” into consideration- even a whiff of cumin would have her fleeing)- at least we agreed on beer.

  4. hubbkf is a product of a 60s-70s midwest upbringing where his mom, like her mom and all the moms around made three squares a day…usually featuring the holy trinity of meat, potatoes and veggies…luckily i also enjoy those foods and make the best roast beef w/mashed taters and gravy in the world bar none… actually, i am the picky one as i don’t like fish and most wild game…so hubbkf either makes it himself or we go to his mom’s because she is a wiz at fish and pheasant…most luckily we both hate the same veggies and fruits…

    i know if i made a light soup or salad for supper, hubbkf would be aghast and rummaging in the cupboards about a half an hour after eating because he tends to not eat during the day and is ravenous by evening…also, he’s one of those a-holish people who can eat all the junk food they want and not gain weight…so, if i do make something on the lighter side, i make sure there’s bread and other things to fill it out…

    the thing i find most difficult about cooking for hubbkf is gauging his satisfaction: i mostly get ‘it was alright’…’pretty good’ is high praise with ‘i didn’t care for that’ as being the worst…although one time i made a meatloaf that was so bad that he quietly fed his piece to the dog…who wouldn’t eat it either…

  5. oh, hai! i am feeling especially blabby today! here’s a couple of recipes/sites i have had much hubbkf related success with: pork tacos and a racheal ray soup recipe of all things…not a fan at all of racheal’s teevee stuff, but i get her mag and i must say any recipe i have tried from them has never failed…go figure…

  6. Clouds is a meat, potatoes, and canned veggies kind of guy.

    I just want easy and quick to prepare nourishment and don’t eat much meat. There is no problem with our divided dinners, which just makes sense to us because we have different tastes and different dietary needs.

    We share a movie. Dinner AND a movie every night.

    When his daughter lived with us I prepared three different meals with enough overlap in foods that it wasn’t all that laborious. We also had a garden then. She was in grade school so I could enlist her help (she harvested and arranged flowers for her table and picked some vegetables). I could not have dealt with such a schedule with a baby. Tender, delicious, yet labor intensive those babbies are.

    Do you make Lord Chubbington’s (he’s growing out of that name, hey?) baby food?

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