Six months and rolling

They (successful writers and such) say you should never let a day pass without writing something. Every single day you should write. Well, lately our lives have been much more “he cooks, I travel,” leaving limited time for writing and cleaning. Hence the lack of posts and lack of clean laundry. Over the next few days, I’m giving both of these items some much needed attention.

Given the travel, both together and separate, our last cooking adventure together dates back two weeks, a few days before Valentine’s Day. We aren’t the type of couple that does flowers and extravagant gifts and gestures on Cupid’s Day of Love. Great for others, just not our style. Just give this girl some chocolate, even just a Snicker’s bar, and I’m good to go. On February 14, our tradition is to cook something new together, as in something neither of us has ever cooked before.  My list of “haven’t cooked before” is much longer than P’s, so I’m typically not the one brainstorming ideas. (You can read about our first Valentine’s here – it set the standard). After much deliberation, several pro/con lists, and a straw poll, we decided that this year’s dish would be (drumroll, please) sushi. Being in both of our top 5 foods, we were anxious to attempt.

Gathering all of the necessary ingredients required us to visit three separate stores.  My aversion to the grocery store is great, but my love of sushi is greater, so I somewhat silently suffered through it. First, we made a trip to Hy-Vee. Thankfully, we went on Sample Sunday. As part of their weekend tradition, they were doing a shrimp boil and a local cheese vendor had a table, so I kept busy trick-or-treating throughout the store while P deliberated on what type of rice he wanted to buy. Surprisingly enough (note: sarcasm), the Hy-Vee in Prairie Village, Kansas didn’t have a large multi-cultural section, so we had to head back down to the World Market in our more diverse neck of the woods (Kansas City, Missouri) to find bamboo sushi mats, wasabi paste and nori. The third and final stop occurred the day we planned to make our sushi. P asked me to stop by the (sketchy) Sunfresh on the way home from work to pick up salmon specifically for sushi. I can’t even find regular, every day salmon on my own so my husband’s faith surprised me. After wandering around the store for thirty minutes and fighting the urge to buy some Zebra Cakes, I found the pre-packaged, sushi-grade, smoked salmon. Success.

Back home with the ingredients arranged nicely on the counter top, I poured myself a glass of wine and sat back to watch P work his magic. Funny if you thought I was actually going to participate in the making of the sushi. There were enough variables in this project without unleashing a loose cannon (me) in the kitchen. Sure, I helped measure ingredients, stirred the rice, (ate cucumber when Patrick wasn’t looking) and I cleaned up while P cooked, but I like to think my roll (pun intended) is more to provide the commentary.

It so happened that Valentine’s week coincided with our six month wedding anniversary.  As I leaned against the counter swirling and sipping on my glass of Pinot Noir, the milestone got me thinking.

Me: So, what have we learned so far about marriage in the past six months?

P: What?

Me: You know, what have we learned? About marriage, about us, about life?

P: You collect cups.

Me: Excuse me?

P: You collect cups around the house. You have a glass of water in each room. You drink half, get distracted and get a new glass. And they start to collect.

Not exactly the answer I was looking for, but it’s true.  As P meticulously prepared our sushi, I kept prodding and we came up with a nice little list.

What we have learned about marriage,  each other and life in the past six months:

1. Each of us has habits that bug the other and those habits probably won’t change. Apparently, I collect cups around the house. P leaves wet towels on the bed after he showers. I hit snooze for at least 15-30 minutes every morning. P tries to set a record every meal for Most Utensils Used in Meal Preparation. Sure, we could try to fight each other on these habits, or he could help me pick up the cups around the house and I can help him remember to hang up the towel in the morning.

2. Don’t ever assume you both are always on the same page. You can’t over-communicate.  For example, it has come to my attention that we have both been using the same loofa. This is in spite of the fact that we have two loofas hanging from the shower rack. Our most recent loofas are purple and blue; purple for me, blue for him. Well, my man must like purple because it turns out he has been using my loofa for weeks. Rude. I had just assumed he would use the blue loofa. No love for the poor, lonely, blue loofa. You can guess what I’m buying at the store this weekend.

3. Not everything that is yours needs to be mine. Some things are better left a mystery.  I won’t go into detail here, as I’m sure you other married folks have your own story that fits this learning.

4. You don’t innately speak the same language as your spouse. Words have different meanings. “Clean” may have a different definition for me than it does for P. And in turn, “it was on sale” sets a different expectation for P than it does for me. This goes back to the whole communication/assumption thing we are learning.

5. It’s ok to disagree. It makes things interesting. It’s why you don’t marry yourself. How horribly boring would it be to be married to someone exactly like you? Agreeing on everything is just unrealistic. Let’s not pretend that we do and embrace the disagreements.

6. Remember those TV shows that your husband would watch with you when you were dating? Shows like Grey’s Anatomy and The Bachelor. When you get married and there are two TVs in the house, he won’t watch those with you anymore.  It doesn’t mean he loves you less. I actually think it means he loves you more because he isn’t pretending to be someone he’s not. However, he will still use you as an excuse to watch the occasional show like Downtown Abbey.

Look at that. One for each month. We certainly have a lifetime of truths to learn, but I think identifying these six in the amount of time it takes to make sushi is a good start.

sushi prepAs I, I mean “we”, pontificated on what we’ve learned, roll after roll of sushi started to fill the plates. “It’s just the two of us, right?” When we go out for sushi, I typically order two rolls and take half home for when I’m hungry two hours later. I get overwhelmed with large portions. I believe this escaped P as he was in the sushi-zone.

We ended up with five, very large rolls. 2 spicy tuna rolls, one regular California roll, one California roll with cream cheese, and one Philadelphia roll. In the end, we actually made quite a dent in the batch. P enjoyed it so much that he made himself a whole new round of rolls on Valentine’s Day when I was out of town. How romantic. Our next variation will be to try tempura-fried with eel sauce. I know, it’s getting crazy around here.

Philadelphia Roll

Spicy Tuna Roll 2

Spicy Tuna Roll

california roll

California roll 2

The recipe P used for the rice is below:

  • 2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Rinse the rice until the water is clear. Combine rice and water in a medium saucepan. Boil, and then reduce to low heat. Cover the rice and continue cooking for 20 minutes. All of the water should be absorbed at this point. Cool the rice until it’s cool enough to handle.  In a separate saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, vegetable oil, white sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat. Stir and cook until the sugar completely dissolves. Cool and stir into the rice.

Ingredients used in the rolls:

Spicy Tuna Roll

  • Ahi tuna
  • Spicy sauce – mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce
  • Red peppers
  • Cream cheese

California Roll

  • Crab
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Cream Cheese

Philadelphia Roll

  • Salmon
  • Cream Cheese
  • Cucumber
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