Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Moooooooooooom I'm Huuuuuuuuungry

I choose to believe that even gourmet chefs, cookbook authors, and culinary creative geniuses despise this question as much as I do: "Mom, what's for dinner?"

For crying out loud, I have no idea. I just walked in the door. I barely had time to put my purse and lunch bag down before the bottomless pit accosted me with the question. I know I'm lucky that many - make that, most - nights, dinner is not on me. My husband plans and prepares dinner most nights, and when I'm able, I pitch in. (In truth, half the time, the bottomless pit doesn't ask what's for dinner, he asks if he can borrow my iPad so he can play Angry Birds. That question is only slightly less irritating than the dinner question.)

Back to Tuesday nights - recently, Justin gets a respite from the evening routine, heading out the door a little before 6 to lead a book study at church, so I'm on the hook for preventing the starvation of the two midgets under my roof.

Believe it or not, this is one area I have demonstrated a pretty consistent ability to plan ahead. Growing up, my mom kept a calendar that had one sole purpose - to list what was for dinner, all done on Sunday night, and laid out for the week ahead so that whomever was responsible for cooking (read: Amanda) wouldn't have to do too much thinking. As a piano teacher whose hours started at 3:30, frequently went until 9:30, and only included a half hour dinner break at 6:30 (reliably, every night - we were the regular Cleaver family with all of us around the table from 6:30 to 7:00 every evening), my mom had to be organized or face the wrath and wailing of three midgeroos, insisting that they were near starvation. I managed to inherit some of that organization, and in general, we successfully plan our dinners at least a couple of days ahead of time, if not a week.

So this morning as I'm heading out the door, Justin and I agree that leftover breakfast pizza (my recipe of the week, which was a hit on Sunday morning, might I add) would be the easiest answer for dinner. All I had to do was heat it up, and we'd be golden. Almost no dishes, balanced meal, happy kids. Done and done.

Except for the part where the only pieces of breakfast pizza that are left from Sunday morning are covered in broccoli and tomatoes.

"Red leader to Rebel Base, we have what looks like an enemy formation ahead. It seems to resemble broccoli and tomatoes. Abort attack, over."

Uuuugggghhhhhh.... back to the, "What's for dinner?"

The interrogation begins. What did you have for lunch? Answer: fish sticks. One of the three major food groups is out.

That leaves chicken nuggets and PB&J. (God forbid I should say peanut butter and jelly - in our house, the J is a firm JAM, please. No jelly.) Seriously? This is what I've been reduced to? How did I become that mom? I think it was a slow slide, but a precipitous fall on a night like tonight - because I'm tired from a long day at work, I had it in my head that dinner was basically no work, and I don't want to think about the aftermath of dishes from cooking anything that takes more than a piece of aluminum foil in the toaster oven.

I try one more time to entice the little person with the breakfast pizza, to no avail. He asks, "what about leftovers?" Since leftovers consists mostly of a rice and vegetable dish or pizza (my kids are sick of it, what does that tell you), I got the request for another favorite - breakfast for dinner. Which sounds so simple, but honestly, it makes a huge mess. Until... I've got it. Eggos.

Yep. My kids are having frozen waffles and french fries for dinner, with fresh peaches and blueberries on the side. 

Considering that my little brother spent his third year of life eating almost nothing other than applesauce, vienna sausages and Coca Cola, I think it'll be okay. I mean, 30 years later, I'd say he looks pretty good.

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