Monast Law Office -February 2020

Workers’ COMPanion


FEBRUARY 2020 | 614-334-4649 | 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd. Bldg 2, Suite 2117, Upper Arlington, OH 43220-2913


Around Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but recall the time I had a close encounter with a unique sort of heart. When I was in sixth grade, my teacher moonlighted butchering cattle. One morning, I stumbled into the classroom half-asleep and went to the drinking fountain in the back. With my eyes closed, I took a long, refreshing drink. When I opened my eyes, I realized I was .3 inches away from a huge beef heart in the sink! To say I was startled would be putting it mildly. My teacher had brought the heart in for show-and-tell. I don’t remember if it was actually close to Valentine’s Day, but I remember feeling a bit creeped out when he cut open the heart and ran his fingers through the ventricles. This wasn’t the only time I foundmyself up close and personal with unexpected animal parts. As a child, my dad spent his summers on his uncle’s farm, where he developed interesting tastes in beef. In high school, I’d come downstairs to find a huge beef tongue, calf brains, or some other gross thing sitting on the counter. Back when I worked at the Bureau, a gal I worked with had her own unique palate. She’d get chitlins from a nearby farmers market. Chitlins are the lower intestines of a pig, and boy did they smell like the lower intestines of a pig! I never tried them, but she loved them. With food, I think I’m adventurous to an extent (It’s obvious from looking at me, I’mnot missingmany meals!). I like sushi, but I draw the line at sea urchin—and snails. To be honest, I really enjoy cooking. I think it’s relaxing—plus, I know exactly what’s inside! I had to learn how to fend for myself in the kitchen at an early age. My dad was on the road a lot, working traveling sales, and my mother worked at Macy’s. I generally came home before my parents did, so, even in elementary school, I had to fix my own meals, usually egg sandwiches or mac and cheese. When my mom was “Food has a way of connecting us with the people we love.”

Two ofmy sons learning to cook pancakes and bacon on a scout tripwith a couple friends

home, she was a master in the kitchen, as she grew up feeding lots of farm hands. I remember sitting at the counter and watching her whip together great meals without a recipe. This sparked my interest in cooking. In Boy Scouts, of course, you cook what you bring with you and learn as you go. (For example, don’t try to cook pasta by dumping it into cold water.) By the time I was in college and law school, I had very little money and cooked my own meals. I discovered Kroger had what they laughingly called “stuffed clams”for two dollars a half dozen. I ate so much spaghetti, I could barely look at it for a couple years afterward! Later I took occasional cooking classes just for fun and learned it’s OK to improvise ingredients. All of my sons know how to cook, which is something I’m very proud of. I know it’s also something their wives are very grateful for. Food has a way of connecting us with the people we love. For example, my brother is quite persnickety about his fudge. It’s based on our mother’s recipe, and he’s adamant about getting the fudge out of the mixing bowl and into the pan just the way our mother did it. Meanwhile, when I make chili, I make it mild enough for my wife to enjoy before jacking the spice in my own bowl up to eleven. Amy doesn’t like to cook, but she loves my chili and is happy to clean the kitchen when I cook dinner (and vice versa, of course). This good balance is part of the reason Amy is my true valentine this and every year.

Whatever’s on your Valentine’s Day menu, be it beef hearts or homemade fudge, I hope you have a great meal with the one you love!

–Jim Monast

1 614-334-4649

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