My husband is a plumber.  Every day he deals with the likes of stuff you and I shudder to even think about.  This is the precise reason why, when he made a gagging sound as I set supper on the table, I almost picked up his fork and stabbed him in the face with it.

I’d made salmon patties with a horseradish aioli, grits with stewed tomato gravy and a side of fried eggplant.  My four-year old has a broader palate than my husband.  Husband is “meat and potatoes” personified.  He will not – repeat: WILL NOT – eat cooked green vegetables and I won’t even tell you what he thinks about grits, eggplant and something called aioli.  I manage to keep his colon in check with green salads and pork ‘n’ beans but that’s about all I can get in him.

I used to take it personally.  I almost called a lawyer the first time I cooked braciole.  It took the whole afternoon to walk through the recipe.  I filleted the loin, made a homemade sauce with roasted tomatoes, stuffed the rolls and basted those suckers with the attention of brain surgeon.  I proudly set the table with the braciole, Brussels spouts with pancetta and a store-bought loaf of crusty Italian bread and waited.  Five minutes into the meal and a whole lot of teeth sucking and heavy sighing from me and he finally looks at me and says, “The bread’s good.”  Bastard.

Then I made Nanny Richburg’s chicken and dumplings, which I swear you’ll want to rub your body down with.  No vegetables – check.  Includes a starch – check.  No pansy-sounding froufrou name – check.  Husband eats on it a while and says, “Yeah, I remember how Mom used to pour a can of tomato soup over spaghetti noodles and chop up boiled eggs over it… man that was good.”

Are you effing kidding me?

I have finally come to realize a few things about my husband.  It’s not just me or my cooking – he shows the same disregard to food no matter where we are or who’s cooked it.  He’s Canadian so some of our traditional Southern fare may be too much for him.  And finally, he just doesn’t get excited about food and cooking the way I do.

He does get excited about me and our children and is a devoted, loyal and loving husband and father so I cook his steak well done (wait for it….. <shudder>), let him put ketchup on my baked macaroni and cheese, boil potatoes on a regular basis and don’t get pissed off when he asks “what kind?” when I ask him if he wants a piece of pie (seriously, what kind of question is that?).

Gag Inducing Salmon Patties with Horseradish Aioli

  • 1 can of red salmon
  • 1 small onion, diced fine
  • ¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup dried bread crumbs

Drain salmon; remove skin and bones.  Mix salmon, onion, Old Bay, parsley, mustard and egg taking care not to break up salmon too finely in the process.  Gently work in bread crumbs until mixture is dry enough to handle (increase or decrease amount of breadcrumbs as needed).  Shape into patties and pan fry until crisp and brown.

*I usually toss mine in a little corn meal or seafood breader before frying.


Horseradish Aioli

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1 cup mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients well.  Refrigerate until ready to use.



A few thoughts:

  • Call these things “Crabby Patties” (from SpongeBob) and your kids will eat them.
  • Save leftovers to make po’boy sandwiches with these the next day (that’s what I was doing when I took this picture).
  • Spend the extra dollar or two and get the red salmon – it’s so much better.
  • I was taught to make these with Old Bay since my mom is from Maryland but if you don’t have any or aren’t into the flavor, ½ teaspoon of salt will suffice.
Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy lives in Lexington, South Carolina, is a contributing writer for the Food & Drink section and is currently working on her first cookbook. Mandy is an award winning recipe writer and judges regional cook-offs and other culinary contests.

“I'm just a gal that likes food. Of course I like to eat, but what I've discovered about myself over the years is that there are more ways for me to enjoy food than just eating it. I like to shop for it, read about it, cook it, entertain with it and write about it. And when it's really good, sometimes I'm tempted to throw it on the floor and roll in it."