Dinner’s On Me

Editor’s Note: the Fridays in this column are not Fridays in Lent

My wife, who happens to be looking over my shoulder at this moment, is the most amazing person in all of creation. Meaning that she is an excellent cook. My wife, no word of a lie, can take week-old hamburger patties, day-old spaghetti noodles, and frozen French fries and transform them into broiled chicken and baked potatoes. With chocolate cake for desert!

All this is to say that my wife prepares wonderful meals for our kids and myself six days of the week. The astute reader is no doubt wondering about dinner on the seventh day, which, in our household is Friday.

Friday is the day that it is my turn to cook dinner for the family. This is my way of sharing the burden of raising a family. My wife, being a stay-at-home mother, keeps the house clean, does the laundry, prepares the meals (except for Friday dinner), balances the checkbook, shops, makes phone calls, and volunteers at the school and food bank. All this while I am out doing the real work of having meetings, going out to lunch, and telling jokes at the coffee station.

So, as a liberated man confident in my manliness, I am prepared to share with all you other men out there how I take on the responsibility of preparing a meal fit for my family, if not the Queen of England…no less.

Generally, Friday morning breakfasts start of with my children excitedly debating whether we are going to have hot dogs, pizza, or fish sticks for supper. But they are wrong; it is MY turn to provide a culinary delight that their future wives (all my kids are boys) will strive to live up to. So after I go through my morning routine, I hastily leave for work.

Around about noon, I usually call home to ask about how my wife’s day is going. After she informs me that she has rescued the neighbor’s daughter from another fire, I ask what is for dinner tonight. She reminds me that it is Friday, and therefore, my turn to cook dinner and asks what I have taken out of the freezer for dinner.

“The freezer?” I ask.

“Yes, the freezer. You know, the Harvest Gold appliance in the basement that contains all the frozen meat.”

“The freezer?” I repeat.

My wife replies through what I imagine to be clenched teeth, “You didn’t take anything out?”

“Take anything out? Is it Friday already? Ha ha.” I reply. “Don’t worry, I’ll pick something up on my way home.”

I quickly grab up a pen to make a list of stuff to pick up on my way home. Bar-B-Q steak is always good, I think to myself. But that needs potatoes and a can of peas to go along with it. Plus, it’s February and the bar-b-q is frozen up solid and probably belongs in the freezer. I make a pretty good spaghetti meat sauce, but that takes upwards of eight hours to simmer, and dinner at midnight doesn’t sound too appetizing, not to mention past the kids bedtime.

So I toss the pen aside, feeling entirely capable of “winging it.” So I wing it over to the grocery story on my way home from work. I scan the frozen prepared dinner aisles checking out the pork, chicken, beef, and shehzuan packages for families of four. Being a family of five, I begin to feel stressed out. Finally, I rest my weary eyes on the hot dog wiener wrap, 12-minute delectable pizza, and “no less than six fish fillets” section of grocery foods.

In desperation, I grab one of these items hoping that it is not the same one I grabbed up last Friday. The kids assault me as I walk in the door. They snatch the grocery bag from my hand and excitedly exclaim, “Yay, 12-minute delectable pizza!”

Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.

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