Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA


November 29, 2012

Mr. Man and leftovers

Cordele — Living with Mr. Man is, in many ways, like being single; ask any woman over 50…that’s a good thing.

For example, there’s food preparation. Mr. Man can barely tolerate the smell of vegetables bubbling on top of the stove, so we eat out a lot. Ladies…I know you find that trait in a man irresistible, almost as irresistible as a man who wipes down the toilet seat and rinses the bathroom sink every morning.

“What’s that rotten animal smell?” he shouted, leaning over the staircase, not long ago when I had a hankering for turnip greens.

 I remember the harried days in my old life…rushing home from work to get the vegetables started in their pots, covering them with lids and hoping they would not boil over, or worse, burn the house to the ground, as I adjusted the stove to its lowest setting, then made a mad dash to the next county to take the kids to horseback riding lessons.

“You were brave to leave butterbeans cooking while you drove all the way to Dooly County,” you might say.

This is true.  I would never leave the house today with the stove on.  But the fact of the matter is there is no one braver than a working mother. They are risk-takers. There’s not an astronaut in outer space, an explorer in the thickest jungle, or a soldier in the deadliest war zone whose bravery can outshine that of a working mom.

But, back to Mr. Man.

Not only does the fact that he frowns on cooking free me from my previous slavery in front of a stove, it saves time in the cleaning department as well.

Imagine, if you will, a refrigerator with no leftovers. I keep an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator door out of habit…and because that’s what my grandmother did… but really, it is not necessary.

I will wager that if you checked the refrigerator of every married woman in town, in nine out of ten, you would find at least one Rubbermaid bowl containing something that resembles an eighth-grade science project. Something green. Something furry.

The contents probably started out as beans or beef stew, then languished for weeks, hiding behind the milk carton, waiting for that fruitful Saturday when the lady of the house might notice the leftovers, only to toss them into the garbage, bowl and all.  Even Rubbermaid is not always salvageable.

The most you will find akin to leftovers in my refrigerator is a half-empty jar of Duke’s and a jar of sweet pickle relish, and that is only because I, from time to time, like a little tuna salad, which bothers Mr. Man almost as much as the turnip greens.

“Yuck…tuna juice,” Mr. Man said squeamishly the one time he saw me open a can of tuna over the sink.

Afterward, he insisted I sterilize the can opener, and from that day on, I have only made tuna salad when he was not looking.

So, given all that I have told you about Mr. Man’s ideas on food preparation, you will not be surprised to learn that we went out for Thanksgiving dinner. While I gobbled up turkey, dressing, butterbeans and corn, he wolfed down ham slices and rolls, claiming the butterbeans had enough salt on them to preserve them until doomsday.

Oh…and did I mention there were no dishes to wash?  But back off, ladies…he’s mine.


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