By John Thorne
[John Thorne and his wife, Matt, live in Northampton MA, where they cook in an apartment kitchen. They are perhaps best known for their irregularly published food newsetter, Simple Cooking , which has been chugging along now for thirty years(!). Their books include Outlaw Cook, Serious Pig, Pot On The Fire, and most recently Mouth Wide Open. It is perhaps worth noting that I idolize Mr. Thorne, have for as long as he and Matt have produced Simple Cooking, and am ecstatic to see his posts on markbittman.com. When you read this piece you’ll see why.– mb]
After my father died, I used to go to Maine twice a year for a week-long visit with my mother, first at the family home in Searsmont and then at a retirement community in Belfast. There, she was required to eat supper at the community dining hall a certain number of days a month. But she didn’t really enjoy that, and not because of the quality of the food (although she complained about that, too). She liked to move through the day at her own rhythm, which meant lunch was often eaten around three in the afternoon, and she wasn’t in the mood to walk down to the dining hall two hours later. She’d much rather eat supper at her own place … around eight in the evening.
This was the case even though by then various frailties had reduced her cooking to preparing some vegetables to accompany the night’s frozen dinner. Of course, I tried to get her to let me cook for her. She did allow this but showed no enthusiasm for my doing so, despite the fact that she often seemed to enjoy what I made. Finally, I got the hint. I gave up, and she and I would settle down in front of the television, each with our own frozen dinner (or, in my case, two frozen dinners — and I usually hedged my bet by having two different kinds). Continue reading