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What’s For Dinner?

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June 30, 2011 by wcobserver

Alison Grisham is on vacation this week… please enjoy this “fan favorite” until she returns next week.

There are people out there who love to cook. They have television shows and dinner clubs. They create meals without recipes. They chop, they stir, they whistle while they work. But over time, I’ve had to accept the harsh reality. I’m just not one of those people. I’d like to be. It sounds nice, in theory. But unless I’m serving Lucky Charms, three out of my five children will invariably decide they don’t like what I’m making for dinner.

Each afternoon, they mount a tedious investigation. Unfailingly, at about 4 o’clock, at least one of my little cherubs will get up the nerve to ask, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” No matter how many times they’ve seen me hold my breath and count to ten in the face of the interrogation, they continue to risk it anyway.

“What’s for dinner?” This query can ruin a perfectly good game of on-line solitaire and an episode of Oprah. I mean, honestly, why do they need to know? Are they planning to make a reservation if they’re not happy with the answer? Has one of them rationed a portion of his lunch for an emergency? Is someone going to start a suggestion box?

I just think this question about dinner should be answered on a strictly “need to know basis.” For instance, say one of them could caramelize an onion or debone a duck, well, than I would be more inclined to discuss the menu with them. As it stands, I can’t get one of them to hand me an onion, let alone prepare one. So I don’t exactly feel like we’re in it together.

By 5 o’clock I typically begin to hope that I will fall and injure myself so someone will have to bring dinner. I remember when a woman in my church broke her leg. She had several children, and someone prepared a calendar so she would receive meals everyday. I didn’t even know her and I got roped into it. Hmmm… the wheels started turning in my head. The thing is, it’s not as easy to break your leg as you might think. I did, however, run two pairs of stockings and destroy a 3-inch heel. Another seemingly foolproof plan thwarted.

By 6 or 7, I finally accept that I have to feed the children and I steel myself for the cacophony of complaints about my food choices.

It doesn’t matter what delicacies I lovingly baste, batter or sautée. Whether it’s baby corn or baba ghanoush, pepperoni pizza or goose liver pate, there is an immutable law of physics that says: The acceleration of a child’s body leaving the kitchen is directly proportional to the odor he claims is overwhelming his senses at the time. A pack of coon hounds can’t hold a candle to the olfactory power of my ten year old, who can detect the smell of water boiling from six rooms away.

In the end, we always seem to muddle through. Everyone eats, the table gets cleared, the dishes are washed and I live to see another day. Alas, I just got a text from my teenager. Deep breath… 1, 2, 3… what a surprise, it reads: “wats 4 dnr?” Here we go again.

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