Usually, traveling for me is reserved to hopping onto an Amtrak to visit either my family or Michael’s or both over a weekend and eating on the road is relatively infrequent: a bag of pretzels at the Montvale travel plaza here, maybe the errant late lunchtime meal at Maggiano’s in King of Prussia there. We might bring some cold food on an Amtrak train or get some snacks in the cafe car, but ultimately, dinners were made by either one set of parents or the other–so aside from snack foods or the quick breakfast bagel I didn’t identify with the corporate traveling culture.
Fast forward to this month when I was involved in an intense qualitative research project that necessitated much travel and many more meals at restaurants than I’d like to admit, and now I really do get it–and then some. As much fun as it is to go out to eat, something that I sorely missed during my nights out was having the opportunity to cook what I wanted and have it meet my specifications. That’s the thing about cooking real meals for yourself: you get used to the idea of being in charge, and it’s hard to secede that control to even the nicest of fast-casual chain restaurants.
The research I was involved in made me realize how spoiled I was on another front: I have a husband who would not only make dinner (and do it very well) but I have a husband who listens to me and takes the whole “sharing the chores” idea very literally. It’s important to get that reality check from time to time as a reminder that what we have is so, so special.
So this feels fitting as a true “welcome home” meal from him: brined pork chops that dare y0u to deem them anything but tender, a simple citrus couscous that matches nicely to the citrus brine of the pork chops, and a hot chimichurri sauce that adds the intense heat of red pepper and the crispness of cilantro. The fruit and the chimichurri blend so nicely to provide a light sauce unencumbered by butter or cream, and after many heavy meals throughout the month, it was just what I needed to have on my plate.