101 Simple Meals: The end?

At this point, I’ve been making these meals for so long now, I’ve sort of forgotten how to live any other way. I’m about to make a grocery list and once I jotted down staples we’ve run out of (sugar, milk) and things I’d like to have (olives, oatmeal), I picked up my battered, stained printout of the 101 meals and started to think about what to cook next.

I’ve made several of these meals without writing about them. Specifically:

35: Cold soba with dipping sauce: Cook soba noodles, then rinse in cold water until cool. Serve with a sauce of soy sauce and minced ginger diluted with mirin and/or dry sake. Messy but good. Still, without any real fat/protein in this, I was starving two hours later.

36: Fried egg “saltimbocca”: Lay slices of prosciutto or ham in a buttered skillet. Fry eggs on top of ham; top with grated Parmesan. Uh, fried prosciutto? Haven’t we already gone over this? Of course it was good.

99: Cook a couple of pounds of shrimp, shell on or off, in oil, with lots of chopped garlic. When they turn pink, remove; deglaze the pan with a half-cup or so of beer, along with a splash of Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, rosemary and a lump of butter. Serve with bread. I bought some awful Gulf shrimp from Whole Foods. They were mealy and just bad. But the sauce that resulted from deglazing the pan? INEDIBLE. I don’t know what happened. The beer took on this horrible, acrid taste. I actually spat it out; it was that bad.

101: Hot dogs on buns — with beans! Two things I learned: Aaron’s Best Glatt Kosher All Beef Dinner Franks are amazing. Key Food’s Vegetarian Beans are not.

Now, with summer — and its produce — almost gone, I think it may be time to semi-retire the list. Many of the recipes are seasonless (and I still want to try my hand at “not exactly banh mi”) but I think, for the most part, I’m going to try to move on from Mr. Bittman’s amazing list for now.

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