Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wanted: Dead or Alive



photo credit: hugovk via photopin cc
The other morning, my ten-year-old son came downstairs, and walking past me, said, "Mom, seriously, that dinner you made us last night tasted like you were trying to kill me or something."

And good morning to you too, honey. Before I even had my head half way whipped around to ask just what he meant by that, the two teens saw their in and jumped at it.

"Yeah. It's like you think you're a wizard or something, making up potions."

"You've made up stuff before, mom, but this one would get the blue ribbon in a chemistry class."

"I know! Like the time she chopped up the left over turkey hamburger with the left over spaghetti and then made into a pie. I thought I'd be dead by midnight that night."

"Remember when she scrambled up the tofu with the left over hash browns and made it into a casserole with that saffron stuff? I wanted to put Wanted: For Murder posters up in the hallway."

The ten year old feels the power of his brothers' back-up and so now he's up on his toes, "No! The worst was when she laid out that old bread flat in the cookie sheet and then covered it with that shiny sauce and she got mad when I told her she should be on America's Most Wanted..."

It was like inmates rattling their tin cups against the jail bars. I put my hand up and looked over at my husband. I raised my right eyebrow at him, wasn't he the sheriff in town?

My husband just slunk into his newspaper, nervously clearing his throat, "ehhem, ehhem."

With my hands in the air, I tried to explain; I'm busy. I had to be at work. The food is perfectly safe. They're too picky. How about doing left overs like the rest of the world??

But between me and you and the lamp post, I couldn't deny it. I mean, I can deny the murder part, or the food poisoning part--I label everything with a sharpie and discard within 3-5 days. The meal was a pretty bad concoction, one of my worst. That night's fly out the door dinner was so bad that after I threw it at the kids and rushed to work, I had to confess to my boss as soon as I got there, "Whoa. What I made tonight for the kids to eat was really bad."

"Oh, it's all right," she tells me. "We all have those days." [she really is one of the finest humans on the planet]

"No, this was bad. I mean left over boiled potatoes, chopped up deli meat, sliced tomatoes, all skilletted together with Catalina dressing over. Sliced peaches for dessert."

"Oh." [first time I've ever left her speechless]

The slapped together last minute meal. Why would I even try, what was I thinking, I mean throwing a hot dog and a bag of chips at them would be better.

I think it's that hope--that somehow blindly optimistic or else thinking too highly of myself, with some hating-to-waste ethics I grew up with, that have me thinking it's so crazy, so crazy that it just might work. I know it's a kitchen fail as soon as I start rummaging through the refrigerator--I'm surprised the kids haven't picked up on that behavioral clue yet. When mama starts moving aside the tupperware containers in the fridge to see what's in there, might wanna fill up on some bowls of cereal first.

The Desperation Dump Dinner. I don't want to admit that time got away from me. I don't want to say I couldn't do it all today. It's never laziness or lack of desire to give them a good meal. I try to ignore the voice in my head that pops up when I look at all those round containers of left overs in the fridge and says, "and so you think it's all right to use your kids as the garbage disposal?" As my ten year old told me, "Either way, mom, it goes down the sink, or comes out of our butts."

The ten year old is right. I need to start over and be open to the reality that some nights may just be frozen chicken patties and a sliced banana. There can be honor and beauty in accepting your limitations.

I could also do without the price on my head.

***

44 comments:

  1. hahahaha

    THIS is the difference between a woman who lives with all dudes and me, a dude with all women.

    I could never get away with saying any of that. Next time put some sleeping concoction in it and get yourself some peace and quiet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, they could always chip in one night a week to help out...even if it's just a big pot of spaghetti or a take and bake pizza ;)

    But seriously...did you think that the peaches could save that poor meal? At least know you know your limits, and those appear to be boiled potatoes, chopped up deli meat, sliced tomatoes, all skilletted together with Catalina dressing over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, this is my husband: "Kids, dinner's ready! Air sandwiches!"

      Delete
  3. My secret? Skillet, olive oil, spoonful of Dijon dressing. Main ingredient: varies according to what's in the fridge. Edibility scale: varies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So funny.

      I knew I wasn't the only one with makeshift meals.

      Delete
  4. I never truly appreciated the meals my mom made until a few years ago when I gave up cooking for myself and just rooted through the fridge or got take out or frozen meals. She had 2 jobs, kept our 4 bedroom home spotless and cooked meals from scratch. IMPOSSIBLE.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I find the meals I feel the lamest about serving (like chicken patties on hamburger rolls...side of baby carrots, of course) tend to get the best reviews. The Catalina was a valiant effort--that stuff does have transforming powers...sometimes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My kids are spoiled by me "real meals." I've been catering for over 13 yrs, so I'm really good in the kitchen. and so, this standard is what they've come to know.

      Makes it hard, I set the bar too high.

      xo

      Delete
  6. No shame in serving frozen chicken patties or frozen pizza. Best line ever was from the 10 year old. 'As my ten year old told me, "Either way, mom, it goes down the sink, or comes out of our butts."' He is hilarious.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ah love, you get points for effort! :) However, I believe the ONLY way to use all the leftovers that I've discovered, is in an omlette. Dead serious. Oh, and you have to name it dammit.

    "We're having French beef omlettes a'la pommes frites!" (this was the leftover hamburger patties crumbled, left over frech fries re-crisped in a skillet, wrapped up in egg and brie cheese over all) Always keep eggs and cheese in the house, and you're gold.

    But on the other hand...we'd all be a little saner if we gave ourselves the breaks we allow others, wouldn't we? *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, Chantel--there's so much in this world, and it becomes more and more demanding. The more we have to help us, the more work it creates. And I consider us an Amish on the down low with technology family. Kids only do one sport, one instrument, one club. I do work 2 jobs and write, myhusband is gone for 12 hrs a day. And we're just an average family.

      With some really really funny kids.

      Delete
  8. Down the sink or out of our butts. True words, yes, but it's like that with everything eventually right? Even the good food. Don't be so hard on yourself. WHY ARE WE SO UNREALISTIC ABOUT OUR ABILITIES AT TIMES? Sorry to shout, but ugh we do this and we know better yet we do it anyway because those voices, those irritating, nagging Shirley voices (as one of the ones in my head is so named) telling us we're failing. We are not failing. We just need to figure out what is doable and what's not and then realize maybe zesty italian will work better than catalina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bottom line, my kids crack me up. Oh, how they make me laugh. The zesty italian? Eh, not so much. If I could, I'd drown everything in mayonnaise!!

      Delete
  9. I know it well: time constraints + desire to use leftovers = pressure. Sometimes that pressure can make us decide to combine boiled potatoes and Catalina dressing. I think it's OK to have some nights be frozen something-or-other nights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? Don't you HATE the waste? I hate the waste. That's got a lot to do with it.

      Delete
  10. Aw, I so love this. And I feel no shame anymore serving my kids cereal and milk or frozen waffles and maybe if they are lucky a cut-up apple...and all of this perhaps 3 nights in a row. I love you.xo

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can't deny that the meal sounds dreadful . . . but, I still remember the first time I complained about dinner -- my mother made it very, very clear that it would be the last. If I complained about dinner, I was on my own.

    in fact, she actually scheduled "OYO" (on your own) nights, once a week, because she didn't want to be in charge of figuring out what we might like/what we would eat when we were all busy.

    I credit those for why I'm actually a half-decent cook today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! John, my kids just read this and cringed. OYO is going to be my new arched eyebrow.

      THANK YOU.

      Delete
  12. You're just a human like the rest of the imperfect, doing-the-best-I-can world, it's bound to fall short of culinary masterwork some days -- why have the man and the kids all sit around criticizing and not helping? Scavenger Night, Somebody Else Cook For A Change Night, inviting them to request foods based on what is currently available; you don't have to use your last spare nanosecond making something that's not gonna be appreciated!

    And, if you let them in on the feeling of how tough it is to get a comprehensive menu together every day, maybe they won't be quite so full of quips that make you out to be the bad guy. You've been framed; clear your name!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My kids make me laugh, they are funnier than the writers on Letterman.

      Thanks for how you care about me. Brings tears to my eyes, your ferocious loyalty.

      Thank you. xo

      Delete
  13. hahaha...i love it...i have def tried some weird concoctions in my day but that one sound...mmm....yeah, usually i wait until my wife is drifting off into dream land to whisper 'never make that again' hoping it slips in to the subconscious...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian , you're so funny. Can't you do a "lite nite" on your blog once a week? Just you being SOC funny. You are.

      Delete
  14. I'm with Arnebya re. the zesty italian. or lots and lots of cereal. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow. That's pretty funny. I love to cook, but my fall back is frozen pizza or spaghetti if I don't have time. I'd never hear the end of that lunch meat, dressing thingy.

    ReplyDelete
  16. And now as I prepare to dig through my refrigerator figuring out what to do with the 11 pounds of ham I cooked this weekend, I will be singing this:

    "I'm a cowboy...on a steel horse I ride. Cuz I'm wanted.
    Dead or alive."

    Thanks, A.
    And Bon Jovi.

    Bon apetit.
    XO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so. Julie, that would make me so happy.

      Delete
  17. I use bad meals to encourage the men in my family to learn how to cook for themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovelyn, you just reminded me--my mother used to do that. We had PB&J's for years--that's what we made ourselves for dinner. I almost forgot!! MY mother was the queen of the dump meal. Tree/acorn/not far.

      thanks for the memory trigger, now I know where it all began.

      Delete
  18. I have a solution to your problem. You have three boys and one husband, total of four able bodies, five including you. There are seven days in the week. Each person is responsible for one meal, one day per week and the other two are anything goes. See how fast that criticism shifts off you and how much they will be thrilled with the meals you prepare!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Okay. I barfed a little in my mouth when you described it. Sorry, dude, but I did. Don't feel bad though tonight, my 4yr old said, "Mommy, when I put that dinner in my mouth my throat coughs and won't let it go down at all!" We've all been there. Some of us more than others:).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stop! Oh you make me laugh.

      Thanks a lot, we mom dudes are supposed to stick together. Tell me your slapped together meal b/c I know you have them!!

      xo

      Delete
  20. I would just reheat what was in the Tupperwares as is. Or, or, or, scramble some eggs together. Or hand them cookies.

    Oh my poor boys.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My kids have already picked up the stakes and pitchforks at 3 and 6 years old. However, I don't like leftovers much either and my husband will eat anything so he eats it and I get the cereal bowls. (or make frozen edamame and some quick rice? -- yum).

    ReplyDelete
  22. I with the others. If cereal counts as a meal for breakfast, then why shouldn't it for dinner? There are also nights when I tell them "It's a fend-for-yourself night. Just make sure you get a fruit or vegetable." They have all proven to be quite resourceful (the kids, at least, the husband, not so much).

    ReplyDelete
  23. I like Ms. A's suggestion!!

    Otherwise, I just love this post, Alexandra, on so many levels, not least of which is that you make me feel infinitely better and less alone. And you made me laugh, as did your boys (oh, Baby E!!). Naturally they would gang up on you! I did not even think of that. My poor boy...he has only himself (though occasionally his dad too). We face those dinner limitations a couple of times a week, and the answer is always "Pizza Vito."

    Well, I am on a smoothie run this week - one different recipe experiment a day. Maybe my mistake was kicking off the week with a spinach smoothie, as now my son groans as soon as he comes downstairs and sees me with the blender...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " as now my son groans as soon as he comes downstairs and sees me with the blender... "

      THAT MADE ME LAUGH, CECI.

      XO

      Delete
  24. I do that too sometimes, but honestly even when I'm cooking something delish there will always be one kid that says "je veux pas ├ža!" and you can totally guess what that means. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm not much of a cook and I cook mainly for myself now *I know don't stone me*. My mom cooks for my son :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. hahahahahahahaha Oh dear. I still remember, when our youngest was three, wanting to revel in the magic I could pull out of an empty frige and foolishly asked them to rate an iffy dinner on a scale of 1 to 10. I ': Three yr old: "On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a ZEAH-WOE."

    (btw, what's Catalina sauce)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your kids are a riot. Also, don't feel so guilty. As a hardworking, working momma, you need to cut yourself some slack. Not every dinner will be Mario Battali good, and you shouldn't have to justify an "off in the kitchen" night. You're entitled.

    Geez, what's my excuse?! I feel as though I eat salad and some protein (tofu? beans? whatever is available) as a side. Blech. Boiled potatoes and tomatoes with sauce sounds pretty delcious. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Unless its frozen chicken patties with frozen french fries, my son thinks its disgusting. I'm not fabulous with planning meals either, but then again I get tired of making stuff he doesn't eat. We eat a lot of pasta due to my lack of planning. I'm not the greatest at throwing stuff together-that's my husband. He could throw cardboard in a pot and somehow it would come out great. Man I wish he'd cook more often.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am laughing. my. ass. off. And, though I didn't comment, the posts before this one were fantastic, too. Pretty serious. And fantastic. You, imho, are on a roll, woman!!

    I wonder, for myself, why I can never have the forethought and say, "Why go to this effort when what they would PREFER is also EASIER???" But I think we could go to jail for that??? Maybe?

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails