Saturday, January 14, 2017

Kids (and cats) in the Kitchen

So this is how many an evening has gone down at the Metcalf home lately:

7:45 pm - Mom walks in after a long eleven hour shift at work.
                 Dad is working late or working a game and is not home yet either.

Random child says, " Oh hi. What's for dinner?"

This question can be classified as Number One on The List of Things that Make Me Say GRRR. It is especially galling at 7:45 on a Thursday night. 

Here is a life lesson: Nobody wants to be asked what is for dinner at 7:45 pm. If it is that late, and nobody has fed you yet, please, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world, figure it out yourself. And then feed something to that poor tired person who is just getting home at 7:45.  Learning this lesson may save your life someday.

At some point this week, I realized that it was mostly my fault that there are people living in this house who do not know this important truth.

Now, before I go any further, I must insert here that Audrey is very good at making dinner for the family when I am gone. Just a day before, she had made grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone before I got home. And that is not an unusual occurrence.  But she is busy studying, or working, or any with any number of her other activities, and often she is not home to get things going. Also, it's really not fair for all of the dinner prep to fall to Audrey. There are TWO other perfectly capable people in this house who could be pitching in more than they are. I will not names, but the guilty know who they are.

And I will post their pictures, just in case there is any doubt as to their identity.

So I came home Thursday night determined to improve my parenting failures, to teach my kids a lesson in cooking, and to instill some independence, responsibility and self sufficiency into these two birds.

I announced that THEY were making tacos for dinner.

Panic ensued. Protests issued forth. Ignorance was proclaimed.

After that, we got down to business, me perched on bar stool to give orders and advice while they did all the hands on.
 Getting the raw hamburger out of the packaging and into the pan was the hardest part. Neither of them wanted to touch the raw meat. Alas, life is dirty business.
 Olivia finally braved up and somehow managed, with a great deal of maneuvering,  to get that hunk of beef into the pan.
The next step was to turn on the stove.
This proved challenging to them both as well.  When I told them to turn on the stove, they both just stood there, blankly staring at the stove top as if they could light it with their minds. Seriously? 22 and 11, and they don't know how to turn on the stove? Where have I been and what have I been doing these past several years? Apparently not mothering. Or cooking.
 I am happy to say that they both now know how to turn on the stove. They also got some lessons in stove top safety and why we don't leave food cooking unattended. Remember those grilled cheese sandwiches I mentioned that Audrey made? Yeah. Ask Audrey why our house smelled of smoke for three days.

While Duncan  had lessons on browning hamburger, I told Olivia to grate some cheese.  She got out the cheese, and a plate, then looked around.

"I can't find the cheese grater," she told me.
"Hmm," says I, "What would you do if I wasn't here to ask where the cheese grater was?"
She looked at me for a minute.
"I would look for it," she said.
"Bingo!" says I.
And miracle of all miracles, she found it.

 Success. Meat cooked,  grease drained, seasonings added, cheese grated, table set, condiments added, and voila- dinner was on the kids tonight. Next week, I'm requesting crab Rangoon and baked Alaska.

My other mom failure this week? Buying cat food. We have been out of cat food all week.  The cats have been subsisting on milk and the occasional scrap of leftover we throw them. Poor hungry Buck begged and meowed and cried his way into a little taco meat, much to the chagrin of the dog, who never gets anything good. Except Iams. I buy her Iams and she does not even begin to appreciate how lucky she is. She still insists on eating garbage.

Kids who cook could be a big thing around here. I think I like it. Cooking dinner is like, 1/8 of the battle. Now I just need someone to shop for me. And earn money to pay the grocery bill. And plan the meals. And throw away the leftovers after we leave them in the fridge for two weeks....

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