|I know, I know Mrs. Pattmore. I need to start taking cooking seriously again.|
Coming up with something for my kids to eat three times a day is as much fun as getting weighed at the doctor's office. As much fun as teaching students to write a proper paragraph. As much fun as shopping for beige bras.
I used to take my role of "Kid Cook" very seriously. I freaked out after calculating that my kids were eating more servings of fruit than vegetables. A ratio of 4 to 0. I bought Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious, and pureed veggies every Sunday night to "hide" in the kids' food. Sorry to tell you Jessica, but my kids always knew something gross, like pureed cauliflower, was hidden in their food. ("But mom, we like the mac & cheese made with neon orange powder!") The brownies with pureed spinach flopped big time. ("Mom! What is wrong with you??)
The other night, cloaked in "Mom Guilt," I decided to bake an organic chicken for dinner. I would make a simple side of green beans (picked from our garden) and quinoa. It was a smallish chicken so I put it in at 4:00 to be done at 5:30. (I error on the side of over cooking chicken since I am 47 and don't have a meat thermometer.) I felt good about myself. I was making a wholesome meal that my children would appreciate and love me for.
At 5:15 the kids started circling me, like turkey buzzards around a carcass, to find out what was for dinner. I proudly clicked on the oven light to show them the chicken. Satisfied I was doing my job, the kids returned to their rooms. At 5:30 I checked the chicken. Still slimy. At 5:40 I checked the chicken again. Nope. Still pink. At 6:10, I desperately tugged at the leg bone hoping it would pull from the chicken. No go. At 6:45 the chicken still wasn't done. Lulu was following me around alternately pointing at her mouth and stomach. The boys were sitting at the kitchen table kicking each other.
Then I snapped. I calmly took the chicken out of the oven, walked to the garage, and dumped the chicken in the garbage can. I was done, done, done.
- I didn't want to continue testing for "doneness."
- I didn't want to continue answering the question, "Is dinner ready yet?"
- I didn't want to carve the chicken, serve the chicken, pick its bones for extra meat, and make chicken broth in the slow cooker.
I wish I felt guilty about throwing out the chicken, but I feel it saved my sanity. And what is wrong with having cereal for dinner?