How I Fight with Family: Spring Quinoa Salad + Giveaway!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

-You are wrong because I am right.-

Heads Up: Giveaway is at the bottom of this post. If you're feeling all TL;DR about it then scroll away!

My family is a family who has passes on an astounding gift through the generations: that of always being right. This often comes with other genetic traits such as blue eyes, nearsightedness, sweating the small stuff, never letting it go, and having the last word in the conversation.

It's fine and dandy if only one person an average family inherits these genes because the other family members can learn to roll it off their backs with a sigh and intimate reminders to each other that "It's just how he is."

However, when every single member of the family is assured by The Universe that his or her opinion (read: authority) is not only the logical one but also, unquestionably, the most right one as decided by said Universe it can only lead to debate. One that often accumulates in wondering how this person could possibly be related to you when they are so utterly wrong. Probably about everything ever.

All this goes without ever realizing that the other person is thinking the exact same thing.

Oh, the family resemblance is more than skin deep.

As such, I've developed unique methods of arguing with each family member. Though methods might not be the best word...

Tactics. Yes. Tactics is appropriate...

The Younger Brother: When we were small it was much easier. We would fight. It would turn to blows as my mother rolled her eyes watching two blond sticks roll around on the floor. The whole mess would end abruptly; usually by my accidentally breaking one of his fingers (three separate occasions) or tossing him through a wall (only once).  Now that he's 10 inches taller than me at a staggering 6'10", I'm quite glad that we've matured to the point of simply bickering like proper adults. This is especially true, considering he could simply leverage gravity alone to kick my ass.

Nowadays we get along quite famously. He recently moved to Sacramento and now we have dinner every Tuesday, whether we want to or not. Most often, we do. It's shocking. We actually have polite conversation and - by God - I enjoy seeing him every week. It's that sibling relationship I always marveled at in stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Ours for much of our life was more akin to A Game of Thrones.)

We laugh and enjoy each other's company. 

Until we don't and I tell him if he wants to be a dick he can just leave and he does. If it gets to that then most of the time we have a quick text chat and decide to start the night over. We are adults, sometimes, after all.

And sometimes we're total children and decide to push it farther because one is totally right and the other is totally wrong and it won't be over until one acknowledges it, or we all die of old age or emotional trauma.

That's the thing with us. Our threats of emotional harm are rarely threats. Having fought for so long we know each and every verbal parry and thrust - drawn out duels are for amateurs who only want to wound. Why not pull out the emotional red button and detonate everything all at once?

You know who worries about casualties? People who don't have an argument with a sibling to lose.

-In which mom begins the crippling addiction known as "Food Porn"-

The Older Brother: Most of our fights stem from generational differences. He was a teen in the 80's whereas I was born in the 80's. I have a Facebook account and put my life out on a blog, he still types complete sentences into the Google search bar. He listened to "Like A Virgin" Madonna, and I listened to "American Life" Madonna. He was Original Nintendo, and I was Original Playstation.

These are unconquerable divides akin to the Berlin Wall, but without Ronald Reagan screaming to tear it down. Rather, it's more like the "Add a few more bricks on top. Maybe add a phone line so we can call the other side if we need to talk about our parents' health."

A lot of our fights stem out of not understanding the other person's position due to our being raised in very different ways by - for all intents and purposes - very different parents.

Most of the time we agree to disagree and that keeps the peace well enough.

The Dad: Speaking from my own experience I don't fight with dad because he usually forgets what the problem was halfway through the argument. It's not so much the early signs of Alzheimer's. He's been like this his whole life.

The Mom: I argue with my mom far more than I have the right to. Thing is is I inherited her high anxiety and high stress from her. A fact she adamantly refutes, but whom every person I have ever dated and who has met her has commented, "I see where you get your tendency to panic from."  While I may have been born with her ability to fret and over-think I nurtured it. I treated that inherent fretting like a ball of dough. I kneaded it, gave it sugar, darkness and warm water. I fed the beast and it thrived. If mom had a loaf of bread I have a motherfucking bakery.

As such, I'm quick to refute her and she's quick to refute me back and on and on we go into a Charbydis of passive aggressive and directly aggressive arguments.

Unfortunately, for me, I lose about 90% of these arguments for the reason as follows:

Me: "I'm right because it's my situation."

Mom: "No, I'm right. I have forty years of experience on you and I know what I'm talking about."

Me: "You're crazy and possibly senile. I'm right."

Then I learn shortly after that mom was right because she has more experience and - god damn it - I have to admit that she was right.

The Husband: We have fought only a handful of times. Literally, in my twelve years of knowing him I can count the arguments on my hands. When we do fight he generally doesn't engage. Rude.

How can I win if he doesn't participate?

Easy. I assume he has forfeited the match and, therefore, I win. 

In the end, I usually patch things up with food. With the Younger Brother it was ribs and asparagus from the grill. With the Older Brother it was canned jalapenos. With mom it was recently a salad. Food is a way for me to say I love you and appreciate you, even when we fight. (Which, contrary to this post, isn't all that often.) I'm not so good with saying words, so putting them on a plate works well for me when there isn't paper or a blog around.

This salad is stupid simple but may require a visit to the farmer's market for the ingredients. It's crazy fresh and stupid easy and it comes together without much forethought or attention. It's also a fabulous way to mend a broken bridge.

Spring Quinoa Salad
This salad is pretty basic. I sautéed some fresh peas (about 1 1/2 cups) and a minced stalk of green garlic in a knob of butter big enough to open a door. After that I sautéed about 2 cups of broccoli with olive oil. While those cooked 1 cup of quinoa went to boil. Tossed it all together with a good amount of dill, flake salt, pepper, more olive oil and a furtive squeeze of lemon.

If you have a nice hard cheese like Parmesan around then shave some of it on. No worries either way.

Done and done.

A tasty way to impress your mom and forget the argument about the best way to address wood rot.

Though my way is best.


Oh. Yes. A giveaway.

We are doing one of those.

Did you know that?

When Steph and I wrote Melt we used a lot of Le Creuset gear. Over the years we've both picked up assorted pieces as gifts from others and gifts to ourselves. When it comes to mac and cheese they hold up well, cook evenly, and have The Style.  In the end we even used a lot of it for the photography for the book itself, particularly for the latter reason.

Le Creuset thought that was super neat because they know how cool mac and cheese is.

You think mac and cheese is cool, right? Good. Then you and Le Creuset will get along famously. So much so you might win a 3-quart casserole dish with lid and four 6-ounce Au Gratin dishes, both in a fabulous Cherry color. Le Creuset is being kind enough to give us these items to give to you. How sweet!

Mathematical! (And if you don't get that reference my opinion of you lowered. I implore you to go watch some goddamn Adventure Time, you uncultured swine.)

How to win? Simply click on this nifty little box: Rafflecopter giveaway link.

Deadline is Friday, April 25th at Midnight. A winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 29th.

Also, we'll be touring and doing cooking demos of dishes from Melt at California Le Creuset stores the following days and giving away more cookware! Hope to see you there!
  • Saturday, April 19 at 1pm: Le Creuset at Vacaville Premium Outlets (Stephanie and Garrett) 
  • Saturday, May 3 at 1pm: Le Creuset at Livermore Premium Outlets (Stephanie and Garrett) 
  • Saturday, June 7 at 1pm: Le Creuset at Gilroy Premium Outlets (Stephanie)


  1. How sad- our family just sweeps it all under the rug!!!! But we eat lot's of mac n cheese!

  2. I love all colors of Le Cruset!

  3. Our family arguments are muted these days. We don't see enough of each other. But my dad and I had some big ones during my teen years. Mostly as to why I didn't have a reason to engage in the teenage national pasttime of angsting.

    Oh, and for the give away, my favorite color of Le Creuset is soleil.

  4. This was so funny - I sent it to my sibs - and there are ten of us "only", know-it-all children!

  5. I don't know what you are talking about my family is perfect ;-)

    I love the colors kiwi and spinach. I am a green freak!

  6. Wow, are you secretly related to me? So funny...

    And on separate note, my favorite color is cherry :) When I saw the giveaway, I kind of wanted to jump up and scream a little like the audience during an Oprah giveaway.

  7. Love this blog post! I rarely fight with my siblings, but can totally relate.

  8. Hello Garrett, your description of arguing with family was so very familiar it hurt a little to read. But, my real reason for writing is about the recipe. The pictures show some kind of leafy green, but I don't see any mentioned in the list of ingredients. Are these just leaves from the broccoli? If so I never knew they were edible. If not, what might it be? Thanks as always for such wonderful posts!

    1. It's the broccoli. I cut up stems, leaves, and florets.

  9. Love the Kiwi color. It would look so fantastic in my kitchen.

  10. My brother and I couldn't be more opposite, and we spoke for the first time in four years a few weeks ago. I have an inner Ina Garten. My brother is having a "redneck swimming pool" (hay bales arranged in a circle with a tarpaulin in the middle - just add water!) at his wedding. HIS WEDDING. Yet all he asked of me for a wedding gift is for me to bring his favorite pasta dish.
    I am looking forward to trying this salad. I am not a fan of quinoa but am convinced I just haven't had it prepared the right way yet.

  11. Oh, and for the giveaway, my favorite color of LeCreuset is cassis!

  12. I love both the blue and the red Creuset, but in the end, would probably

  13. I don't suppose this recipe works to smooth things over with in-laws, but it still looks like it's worth a try.

  14. Oh purty! I could definitely use these

  15. And for the giveaway...I'm a big fan of flame.

  16. I had something to say but was distracted by how shiny your Mom's hair is...oh, right, the giveaway. I'd say my favorite color would be any color that's free to me.

  17. For the giveaway, my favorite color LeCreuset is black!

  18. Ahh siblings and parents. The best and worst people to argue with.

    The best color is y far that new amazing green they came out with. Fabulous!

  19. Love this post! I needed a laugh!

  20. I like any of the colors -- it's LeCreuset, fer cryin' out loud! AND I love cheese, and cooking with cheese, and OH I LOVE YOUR COOKBOOK!!!

  21. LOVE the cookbook/blog. And Le Creuset cookware (white is my favorite but red and blue are good too). Super bummed I missed you during the book tour in Portland!

  22. The red is just so punchy!

  23. Soleil is my favorite color - and I loved all this about your family! I need to write one about MINE! Ha!

  24. Great blog! Thank you for the giveaway too, i love the red color, it would compliment my other red kitchen collection of items :)

  25. I really like the Marseille, but I'd settle for the cherry. ;)

  26. I love the pretty blue color they have- the one that is sort of aqua.

  27. Oh, favorite color? I'm not a fan of the Dune, to be honest, but I like all the others. Color is good!

  28. As always, another fantastic recipe, Garrett- and one I am absolutely going to make this weekend. I am allllll about quinoa and other grans !! Like.....obsessed

  29. I have red accents in my kitchen, so cherry it is! Fingers crossed, thanks for the giveaway!

  30. Marseille is my favorite color.

    I, too, come from a family with an "always right" gene. We don't fight it out though, we just passive aggressive it out.

  31. I love all colors of le creuset, especially red and blue!

  32. I like any Le Creuset color. I am not picky and really need a new casserole dish!

  33. Hi Garrett: I really love Le Creuset and I love all the colors, but especially in Carribean. This quinoa salad sounds like a really good one to try out. I love reading your posts because they always teach something new, but most importantly are full of humor.

  34. Caribbean is gorgeous!

    I love your perspective... you are so fun to read.

  35. I love the cherry red almost as much as your book!

  36. all the colors are so beautiful! i love reading the descriptions, too! i adore warm colors, so would say cherry and dijon are my top two, though cooler cobalt and ocean are gorgeous as well. its so hard to choose! as a soon-to-be college grad, I would die for a Le Creuset to start my own kitchen set :)

  37. My favorite color!!! I love your book!!!!

  38. Boy, I need to use some of your "tactics" in my own life! I always enjoy your humor and observations on life in general.

  39. I need to adapt some of your "tactics." :-) My favorite color of Le Creuset? The cherry.

  40. I love all the Le Creuset colors. I have pieces in Cherry, Kiwi, Palm and Marseille.

  41. I'm glad that you have your family to fight with. What little family I have left, we just don't talk at all. Thankfully, I started my own, and hubs & I are both like Brian...we don't fight. The kids just fight with each other. As far as cookware colors go, I'm a "rainbowist" and believe that all colors go together.

  42. The new palm color really grabs me's beautiful!

  43. This reminds me a lot of my family. I have different 'languages' to speak to each of them. With Older Brother, I try to Stay Calm at all times and avoid shrieking 'don't patronise me!'. With Middle Brother I recently discovered his 'language' by accident when I was fed up with getting monosyllabic answers to my questions (I'm just interested in your life, dammit) and decided to stop asking questions. Out of spite. And to my great surprise, he started opening up. Now I really enjoy his company by reminding myself to count to ten after asking each question, to give him space to answer it. I suppose I do speak a little fast. He even wrote on my birthday card, 'You're an alright sister'. High praise! And of course, I feed both my brothers as an incentive to hang out. Tomorrow I'm making slow roast lamb and lemon pototoes and they will come over and we'll eat and talk.

    Love your acerbic humour, Garrett.
    P.S The burnt orange colour is my favourite Le Crueset colour since I have two baking dishes in that colour (gifted by ex-boyfriend who is long gone but Le Crueset is forever).

  44. The Carribean blue is gorgeous!

  45. Im a fan of the cherry red color!

  46. I think the Caribbean color is really pretty

  47. Caribbean is an amazing color!

  48. Oh how I know how those family fights go! I am like you---very similar to my mother and every once in a while we have a little spat with both of us wanting to be right or have the last word. Thankfully we are family and it's water under the bridge once the spat is over.

  49. I like the eggplant color - not sure of the official name

  50. I'm going to go with Cherry, simply because the one Le Creuset item I have is that color already. But a rainbow would be lovely as well.

  51. I like Purple the most, then one of the blues.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  52. Hmm I don't think I can pick a favorite color! But since I have to, I'll say yellow :))

  53. What a pretty color (and I'm sure the red go nicely with the greens in your make-up bridge-mending salad)

  54. Oh, MAN do I feel this. My immediate family is tiny, but the epic holiday blowouts with my extended family... there's a reason I'm not friends with most of my cousins on Facebook.


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