When I was younger and ate a lot of meat, I was famous for cooking chicken breasts until they were so dried out and well done that my then boyfriend referred to them as chicken boots. I loved them. Nobody else would eat them.
After I left college I moved to the countryside in Western Massachusetts where my rural Mother in the Woods image took over for a very short time. I was within weeks, commuting back to New York to be in a play. But four days a week I was in the most beautiful, bucolic countryside with a tiny cottage where my boyfriend was supposed to sit and write a novel. He never wrote anything and I fear that is because I had inadvertently poisoned him with what cooking I had tried.
But I did try. I hadn’t yet mastered the chicken boot idea, but I was still eating red meat that amounted to about a cow a week for just me. We rarely bought steak, but I found a recipe for hamburger Stroganoff that I think was created by a cardiologist looking for his next heart attack patient. It involved a quart of sour cream, a stick of butter, a pound of ground beef, and if I felt like it, some onions.
My boyfriend was so shamed by the lack of writing he was doing that I think he decided eating my cooking was what he deserved. So he doggedly ate any garbage I put out. I made the Stroganoff three times a week, and I was only with him for dinner four nights a week.