I’m a fabulous cook. Every night my family gathers around the table, anxiously awaiting what culinary delight I’ve prepared. They gobble it up every night, raving about how delicious it is.
What a load of crap! You didn’t believe that, did you?
It goes something a little more like this… at 5:35 I realize that it’s suppertime. If Evil Genius has arrived home, I ask him what sounds good for supper. He never knows. I ask him what sounds offensive for supper-sometimes he can actually answer that. So once I decide on my own what we are having, I spend more time looking to make sure we have the ingredients. Or even more common, I start making the supper and realize that I’m one or two ingredients short. THAT always makes the meal all the more awesome. NOT.
While I’m cooking, I tend to be distracted because this is when the children decide to start to act up. They jump on furniture, they wrestle on the living room floor, they do everything they are not supposed to do because I am too distracted to notice. When I do and tell them to stop, they resume. This pattern of me yelling and them resuming happens about three times until my husband yells and send them both to their rooms. Because we are really good parents, can you tell?
Once the meal is ready, I put it on the table and the Professor proceeds to make some sort of weird face, if it’s not pizza or something fried. Princess Ranch Dressing either a) takes three bites and says she’s full or b) eats her food, her brothers food, and is begging for fruit. My husband eats it regardless, which is good, because someone has to besides me.
The Professor looks like he has never eaten anything in his life. We have threatened several times to send him to “Skinny Camp” to put some meat on his bones. The dog weighs more than he does. We do not keep him locked in a closet under the stairs and feed him crumbs. People tell me, “Oh, he’ll eat when he’s hungry.” This is not true. He would rather starve than consume such dietary staples such as pasta, rice, most fruits, most vegetables, anything that ends in y, you get the picture… I’ve seen him go for days hardly consuming a thing. We leave the house and he’ll make sure he’ll say within earshot of people “Wow, my stomach is rumbling, I’m REALLY hungry.” I get lots of dirty looks from strangers. He’s only saying that because we had pasta that day, and he didn’t eat it. He also consumes food one atom at a time. He takes teeny weeny itty bitty bites. He puts microscopic particles of the food on his fork and would take three hours to eat if we didn’t set a time limit. This is unless it is a breaded meat, some form of fried food, or pizza. Then it is gone in six seconds. We have done the “try one bite” route with him when it comes to the 75% of food he doesn’t like. His reaction is a) I like it, then doesn’t touch it b) gags and makes himself throw up or c) see the picture above.
Back to the actual meal itself. I actually attempt to spend time planning meals. I have made a binder with a list of meals that at least 50% of us will eat on any given night. I took an old picture frame and made a dry-erase dinner menu calendar. I cut recipes out of magazines. I print recipes out from the internet. Did you know that when you do this that it will self destruct when it’s time to find it? Or get up and run away, only to reappear a month later. I’ve done the trying to plan meals around sales that are happening that week so I can save money on grocery shopping. HA HA HA. That requires thinking that is on levels that I cannot comprehend. It involves a) hoping the paper with the grocery flyers actually gets to our mailbox on time b) me actually LOOKING at the grocery store flyers and c) me actually thinking about what ingredients we need for dishes. I employ the method of making a list and making sure we just have lots of stuff on hand. Until we need it. Somehow it seems to disappear if I’m counting on it for a meal that week.
Princess Ranch Dressing is much more of a healthy eater than her brother. At times she would be what would be called an “Adventurous Eater”. She has actually eaten raw potatoes as well as taken bites of things such as raw onions and hot peppers. I prefer to call her a “Moody Eater”. It all depends on what mood she is in. When her brother is requesting chicken nuggets and potato chips, she prefers carrots and ranch, sliced apples, celery, etc. Now the vegetables must be accompanied by ranch. Lots of ranch. The kid is obsessed with ranch dressing. However, as I’ve mentioned, she cannot always be counted on to finish anything she’s given. There have been many days where she has taken one bite of each thing on her plate and announced she’s done.
My husband has been referred to as “The Cast Iron Stomach” in the past, though I think getting older has caught up with him somewhat. He has been known to eat pretty much anything. He says I’m a pretty good cook. He is an amazing cook, because unlike me he’s not afraid to throw stuff together. I follow recipes, he follows his taste buds. Must have something to do with being an Evil Genius. He has actually mocked me for requesting that he follow a recipe from time to time. Or measure stuff out. I also call him “Aluminum Chef”-we’ve watched a lot of “Iron Chef America” in our day. He could easily be a chef. It’s sickening. It’s also not too often that he cooks-often on the weekend I just tell him he’s in charge of dinner. And sometimes it even materializes if there’s not something interesting going on, like a “Double Experience Weekend” on City of Heroes or “Iron Man” on TV. I can’t talk, because I’m likely to be distracted from making supper until I’m too hungry to cook.
After dinner, I am responsible for cleaning up and washing dishes. This sometimes happens. If we happen to be watching something like NASCAR, it might get put off. You know only skipping dishes one night makes the number of dishes in the sink triple? And being ADD, I tend to miss really important stuff, like leaving the bag of shredded cheese on the counter until the next day. Or forgetting to put the leftovers in the pan on the stove away. Or forgetting to check to make sure my son actually closed the lid of the freezer downstairs. Sometimes I try to make cleanup easier by serving stuff on paper plates. This works with the kids, but my husband has some sort of aversion to paper plates. He just won’t use them. Silly, silly man.
My culinary skills have improved significantly since I married my husband. I’ve never been one who loves to cook. Despite efforts by my Mom to help me become interested in cooking, I just never really tried all that hard. The microwave is my friend. I am a Microwave Master. I could just cook in the microwave every night and be perfectly happy. However, when money is an issue, you can’t just pop in a microwave dinner for everyone every night. I’ve tried to serve more healthy fare, and I’ve cut down significantly on the processed stuff that we buy and cook. There are a few exceptions to this-Jack’s Pizzas, bags of chicken patties and nuggets, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. You just can’t recreate that stuff and make it taste the same. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I must be doing ok. Despite my son’s malnourished appearance, everyone seems to be healthy. No one has contracted food poisoning from anything I’ve made. From time to time I actually DO find a recipe that doesn’t vanish when I need it, and it’s liked well enough to be put into the monthly rotation. We don’t eat the same thing every week. I only force leftovers upon them once in awhile. Enjoy it people. If I had my way about it, I’d eat Lean Cuisines every night and make you guys fend for yourself…