“What’s for Dinner?” is a shameless aping of Simcha Fisher’s “What’s for Supper?”
I was determined to plan dinners on a schedule just like a real mother.
I am not good at this.
Schedules and I get along even worse than cooking and I do; I never do anything according to a schedule. I can’t manage any scheduling more complicated than jotting “Rose dentist 3:00” onto the back of my hand in marker and realizing it isn’t washable later. I am a writer. My soul is best suited to staying up until 3 AM, worrying, and writing short essays about staying up until 3 AM worrying. It’s not a domestic or an organized soul. I am not the woman praised in Proverbs 31. If the woman praised in Proverbs 31 went to my church, I’m sure she’d despise me, and deliberately put her home-baked organic focaccia in front of my tray of store-bought gluten-free sandwich cookies at the church potluck. My skill set is better suited to Proverbs 21:19.
But God saw fit to give me the unimaginable blessing of a daughter, and the daughter is always hungry. I decided to learn to plan meals on a schedule.
On Sunday night I plotted the whole thing out. I looked up tasty and inexpensive recipes. I showed them to an unimpressed Rosie, who was eating a white rice sandwich she fixed for herself. I composed an itemized list of seven suppers and one Sunday treat dessert. I broke them down into their respective ingredients. I organized the ingredients into a list according to the Aldi aisles, with a supplementary list for a couple of fancy shcmancy ingredients that couldn’t be found at Aldi but could be found at Kroger. I planned to go out first thing Monday morning.
Monday morning, I came down with a 24-hour bug. I tried to explain to my husband that I had to go to the store anyway, because missing Monday on the cooking schedule would throw off the rest of the week, but he just didn’t get it. I explained about schedules and lists and Proverbs 31, but he still didn’t get it. He took Rosie out for the afternoon so I could have a long rest. He brought home fried rice for dinner. Rosie enjoyed it, and cleaned her plate.
Tuesday, I felt better. I got all my environmentally conscious cloth bags together. I took Rose to the library to play in the kids’ section, and then we went to Aldi. I showed her what I was buying and why; I talked about comparing prices, buying the best value, planning ahead. I let her help me load the items onto the cart. I got the bags on the bus without breaking them. I came home, tired but glowing with pride, and went to put the chicken thighs for slow-cooked tikka masala in the crockpot. But it was six o’clock in the evening. I gave up, and just baked the chicken thighs with some salt. Rosie had a cup of strawberry yogurt she’d asked for at Aldi.Wednesday, I made one-pot chicken Florentine with canned artichokes. Everything went splendidly until I realized that the recipe called for simmering under a lid and my skillet didn’t have one, so I poured the whole thing in the stockpot. Then I realized that the stockpot didn’t have a lid, so I covered it with a dinner plate. When I went to remove the plate, I discovered the reason that lids have handles the hard way, and had to run cold water over my steam burns, but that was okay because two-pot chicken Florentine is heavenly, well worth a few scars. Rosie wouldn’t touch the stuff because it had spinach in it.
Thursday, we had gluten-free spaghetti and slow-cooker meatballs. Michael thought they were a treat. I thought they were a treat. Rosie’s review was as follows:”This is good. This is really good. You should make this more often, Mommy. The meatballs are yucky. They taste terrible. Never make meatballs again.” But she ate her spaghetti.
Friday, I was going to make gluten-free crockpot Mac’n’Cheese but the recipe website was temporarily down, so I made the arroz con pollo that was supposed to be Monday’s dish. It looked simple, and I like simple; it was Spanish, and I like Spanish food. Even Rosie was excited about it. I told her that “arroz con pollo” was only Spanish for “chicken and rice,” and she likes rice, after all. And how was it? Well, if I had to grade it on a scale of delicioso to Grover the waiter singing “Grenada:”
It was a disaster. A mouthful of slimy chicken bones on top of bland rice, and it tasted like ketchup even though I hadn’t put in any ketchup. Rose ate some of the rice.
We took the weekend off.
I am still not the prudent lady of Proverbs 31. Though if this were Genesis 25, Esau would absolutely swap his birthright for a bowl of my two-pot chicken Florentine.
(image via Pixabay)