What smells like ass? Asks my teenager son, as he walked into the kitchen.
Um, that would be dinner.
It had been weeks since I had prepared a “proper” dinner for my family.
After watching a few episodes of Cooked on Netflix, I felt nostalgic about cooking and preparing a wholesome meal for my family. The show documents various cultures around the world about food preparation and how, in our busier-and-busier lives, many of us have lost touch with taking the time and the steps to prepare a meal. Made with good ingredients and made with love. The narrator and author, Michael Pollan, says that we all have good memories of being “cooked for” and how that makes us feel cared for and loved.
When I have the time and make the time, I do enjoy cooking for my family. It’s just that they don’t always like what I cook.
That night, I baked potatoes. I broiled some cod with fresh parmesan. I roasted broccoli drizzled with olive oil. (Fish + parmesan + broccoli = stink.)
My intentions were to invite and welcome my family to the table. Yet, the smells turned people away. Except for Otis.
To me, nothing is more comforting when you’re sick than a grilled cheese sandwich. Especially one that’s made with love. And butter. Golden, crusted bread with melted cheese overflowing. When you make one for the patient, you kinda have to make one for yourself.
Our family has been sick a lot this winter. Which means, there has been a whole lot of nurturing going on. And a whole lot of bread, cheese, and butter.
When my youngest son and I visited my aunt and uncle, my uncle asked if we wanted grilled cheese for lunch. Yes! And I could tell it was made with so much love (and American cheese) because it was quite possibly one of the best grilled cheese I have ever eaten. My son and I still reminisce…remember that sandwich?!
It was probably all the love that made it taste so good.
How about bacon and eggs? Rummaging through the refrigerator. Two eggs. Hmmm. Not enough to feed a family of five. Never mind, no bacon either.
How about hot dogs? The kids love them! Cloacas and all. Hmmmm. Hot dog buns, but no hot dogs.
How about an emergency pizza? I always stock the freezer with several pizzas “in case of emergency.” As in, I am too exhausted to cook. Or we are home too late from soccer practice. Or, a friend is sleeping over and we need to serve something fun. We are out of emergency pizzas. But there are two giant bags of frozen broccoli. Bam!
Can of soup? Yeah, OK. We do have lentil soup. But it’s low sodium and gaggier than my homemade lentil soup, which is like triple gaggy.
How about quesadillas? Um, we’re out of tortillas.
How about peanut butter and jelly? Out of peanut butter.
What about spaghetti? Out of spaghetti? Nah, I think we’re spaghetti’d out.
But there was bread. And cheese. So, bam. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Served with broccoli. Because, no matter how slight the groceries, we’ll always have lentils and broccoli.
You know the classic story Stone Soup? Where the stranger enters the village to make this amazing soup out of simply a stone and a pot and hot water? He uses his great negotiation skills and slyness to score donations of carrots, potatoes, onions, and other vegetables…to make…voila.
Soup out of a stone, wowing villagers. How could this be?
Well. My soup was the opposite. My intentions at the beginning of the week were to make soup. A rich, vegetable soup with roasted chicken and beans. Packed with nutrients. And lots of other stuff.
I purchased all of the ingredients and stocked the refrigerator. I got too busy. The soup waited another day to be made.
Turns out, the kids ate the two roasted chickens.
The next day, I purchased two more roasted chickens. Meanwhile, the kids had eaten the vegetables with dip. And the soup waited another day to be made.
I repurchased vegetables. Meanwhile, the beans were turned into nachos. And the soup waited another day to be made. No soup was made that week.
All that was left–from the bounty of food purchased on Monday–was a stone.
I know. It was probably salmonella poisoning from eating raw eggs from cookie dough. Yep, I knew it. I finally got it. After eating pounds and pounds of uncooked cookie dough over the years, I was due.
The symptoms continued for days. I talked to my friend who’s a nurse and admitted my dough overdose. She’s like nah. Are you dehydrated? Do you have stomach pains? Do you have diarrhea?
OK, so I Googled my symptoms. Turns out I had a brain tumor. And it’s been growing there for three weeks, apparently. My husband’s like get your butt to the doctor.
So, he took me. On Valentine’s Day in fact. What love! (Not sure why I didn’t go to the doctor sooner. I mean, I take my kids the second they have a symptom.)
I did not have a brain tumor. Whew! I did not have salmonella poisoning. Whew!
Turns out I had merely a bilateral otitis media and sinutitus (double ear infection and sinus infection). What a tough cookie I am.
Yeah, yeah. We’re trying to eat healthier as a family. Blah, blah.
I’ve been buying whole wheat hamburger buns for years. The kids don’t like them. They end up eating the burger but leaving the bun. Another bun bites the dust.
Then, I tried the not-so-wheaty buns. Alas, they were also neglected. My attempts at healthier eating weren’t going so well.
Next, we tried the super thin (tortilla-thin), multi-grain buns. Gag. The kids hated them. Damn. I bought a ginormous bag of them at Costco.
So tonight, we went back to the old school, fluffy, white buns with sesame seeds. I don’t think they have an ounce of wheat in them. And tonight, the hamburgers–and their accompanying buns–were eaten. Every last seed.