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The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
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is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 07.19.04
Montreal

GREG DUNCAN

Ladies' Night Out

A couple of weeks ago I provided a recipe for men with hints on what to cook and eat if the "Significant Other" was out of town. It has occurred to me that the ladies might like some suggestions for when the mister is away, too.

The thing is, ladies more than likely do not need suggestions from a male food writer about what to do. They have been hatching plans and looking forward to some female time anyway, I suspect.

Unlike their male counterparts, who will deliberately dress down when freed up for a weekend, a women more than likely will dress up.

Why?

Because she will probably be arranging for a facial or spa treatment and most definitely will be getting her hair done. The sweat pants and T-shirt routine just doesn't go well with such activities and one must look good for the arrival of the girlfriends who also have had their nails and hair done to boot.

As well, one must not listen to Céline while dressed in grubby garb, I'm told.

It is curious to men why the girls want to look so good for each other and even more curious why when asked what they did all weekend they reply 'nothing.' Of course, this means that as a man, you have already failed the first test.

'Nothing' means that you haven't noticed how good she looks with her new hair and nails and therefore you will get 'nothing' soon.

What does this have to do with food, you say? Well, nothing. I just wanted to point out subtle differences on the home front.

Women and men do differ greatly as to what they will eat in the absence of their partner, it seems. There is no compromise needed and chances are the menu for the weekend will contain at least one Caesar salad, a bottle of Chardonnay, and a low-fat item such as Key Lime pie.

When the girls arrive for their get-together, they will be toting fruit, veggies, and wine coolers. This is in stark contrast to a man's weekend full of beer and hot dogs.

There may be the appearance of some boneless, skinned chicken breasts as a side for the salads but I maintain there will absolutely be no wieners present at a woman's weekend.

I'd like to recommend a tried-and-true party recipe that will leave those nails intact and not muss up the hair while the ladies sip smoothies.

The calcium and iron that spinach and cheese contain are essential to female good health.

The bread bowl provides a good base to absorb and temper the wine and there is much chatting potential while sharing this finger food.

Men who read this can add sausage to the recipe for an upgrade.

Spinach dip in bread bowl

Frozen chopped spinach makes it easier than ever to prepare.

2 (nine-ounce) packages frozen spinach, defrosted according to package directions
3 2/3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 (eight-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) round bread loaf

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine spinach, Swiss cheese, water chestnuts, Parmesan cheese, milk, salt and pepper in large bowl.

Slice top off bread loaf; carefully remove soft bread from inside, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shell. Cut top piece and soft bread into bite-sized pieces. Spoon spinach mixture into shell; wrap loaf in foil, leaving filling exposed.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm with bread pieces for dipping.

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