4/22/2008

Prison Food

So, today was one of those days. People say that all the time. What exactly does that mean? Well, for me it means I'M GLAD IT'S OVER. One of my duties as a home maker is to prepare and serve dinner for my family. This is not put upon me by my husband. I could make every night "Whopper night" and he would sing my praises. (All the way to his heart attack and early grave.) We often go to Chick-Fil-A on Tuesdays (kids eat free) but we just ate out there this past Friday night, so alleviating my duties and taking everyone to kid's night wasn't an option in my mind. I boiled some white beans all day, thinking I could create something edible to make by dinner time. Well, at 4 o'clock I realized I needed to go to the post office and get something in the mail by five. Jimmy had a meeting after school and wasn't coming home until late, so I piled all the kids in the van and ran my errand.

This meant that I didn't get dinner started early, or my usual afternoon chores done, and I left the house messy, to say the least. I came home to some disgusting looking beans, a lot of clutter, and hungry children. I began to think of casseroles I have eaten or made in the past. I've had casseroles with beans. I had some leftover chicken. I've had casseroles with chicken. I made some rice. I've had casseroles with rice. Then I remembered, "Oh yeah, if you put cheese on it, it magically makes it yummy, right?" So I shredded two ends of two different kinds of cheese. Throw in some spices, chicken broth, more spices, CHEESE...and I've done my job. But it's pretty sad when you look at it and don't even want to taste it to see if it's good enough to pass for dinner. (The whole time I was cooking I was thinking about how tasty Chick-Fil-A nuggets are.)

Also while I was cooking, my kids were doing whatever it is they do when, after a long day, I put on my angry eyes and declare, "Out of the kitchen!" My preschoolers were downstairs in the playroom playing the pre-recorded songs on our keyboard at full volume, jumping, singing, and dancing on the bed. Jackson is trying to write a letter, so I'm shredding cheese, trying to guess at how the spices might taste (because I'm too scared to taste it myself, as I said) and spelling words Jackson asks about two or three letters at a time. Penelope, my angel child, was in her jumper looking cute and making me wish I could just forget dinner and hold her. Jimmy comes in, looks at the pot of beans and says, with a look of disbelief, "Is this what we're eating?" I said, "No, I just put some of them in the casserole." So, it was a lie hidden with the truth. He trusted me (God bless him) and didn't suggest going out.

I opened a can of green beans, threw a bag of carrots on the table, put out my bread (I did bake bread, but because of my trip to the post office it fell) and we sat down to eat. I served the children. Everything is still loud and people are talking over each other and I haven't stopped in hours at this point. I just want to stuff everyone's face so I can clean up and wash my hands of this whole cooking experience. As I serve a large spoonful onto Jimmy's plate, it lands with a disgusting splatt and a little falls onto the table. For an instant I felt like I was watching a movie scene in a prison, you know, when they always exaggerate the wretchedness of the prisoner's situation by showing how inedible the food is? Well, I looked up at Jimmy and said, "Do you ever feel like you're in prison?" And we both started laughing. I laughed so hard I started crying, and lifted up my shirt to wipe my tears. (I had forgotten napkins, and I was NOT getting up.) Jackson said, "I saw your bra!" then made some comment about my stomach being fat and Jimmy said, "Let's pray."

Yes, let's.

2 comments:

Susan Mathews said...

I think you should now affectionately call that meal the "Shawshank Casserole". Love it!

allhisblessings said...

Yep, now I read it. You had me laughing and crying all at the same time!