National Basketball weekend – also known as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament – is something of a religious holiday for my husband. The first weekend – with its 60 + games, games that happen in simultaneous chunks so that no matter how many times you flip channels there’s always a game to watch – is observed with more devotion and preparation than Passover, Yom Kippur, and Easter combined.
Being a pretty much stellar wife, albeit one who doesn’t cook often, organize well, clean consistantly, or bring in much income, I offered to make dinner for my soon to be smittenly distracted husband. Keeping in mind that we had peppers and onions (and I have limited culinary skills), I suggested Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches. To which he replied: “ooooo yes, let’s have that.”
After a few rounds of games, we went to the store to get our ingredients. I had planned to slice, marinate, and cook up some flank steak, saute the peppers and onions, melt a little cheddar cheese and throw the lot on some bread. My husband took a different approach. And took over the entire process.
He fixed an Asian inspired marinade of garlic, soy, and ginger. The shredded cheese turned into a creamy bechamel. Instead of the French rolls, he picked up a whole wheat batard. The onion and poblano pepper simmed in oil, melting and blending their flavors.
And it worked! This was one of the very best sandwiches I’d ever had. The flavors combined with alacrity; the juicy meat and softened vegetables oozing succulent drippings, covered in velvety sauce.
This would give any traditional cheese steak, from any area, a serious run for its money.
After dinner (and another round of games), we walked down to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art to see the original pages of basketball rules written by James Naismith, of basketball and KU fame. Displayed in the main hall of the older building, the rules – two typewritten sheets with pencil markings – seemed both serene and naive. Across the hall was a short documentary about the aquisition of the Rules and their history, as well as Naismith’s role in Kansas basketball.
As we left the museum, I poked my head into the auditorium to check on the Thomas Hart Benton mural, which is always a favorite stop of mine. On the stage, a huge projection screen was showing one of the on going games of the tourney.
Only in Kansas City.