When I'm on the ball, I'm in the kitchen at 3:30 p.m. and I have a great dinner — and dessert — ready by the time my husband gets home. But I'll admit that I'm a seasoned procrastinator and most days I'm winging it. I have a good idea what I have in the freezer and fridge and it usually all comes together within thirty minutes before my husband walks in the door.
But tonight, I was winging it the minute I walked in the door after church. Six pairs of hungry eyes were trained on me from the minute I set foot in the foyer. I've learned to ignore these stares and they've all learned not to ask me what's for dinner — or else. You don't want to push Momma when she's got a dinner deadline to meet, pronto!
Well, I amaze myself sometimes. Some call what I made for dinner "American Chop Suey." Others call it "Hamburger Helper." I called it: "Shutupandeatit."
Served with a side of salad (and rolls that I totally forgot about until 3½ hours after dinner) it was completely edible, substantial and tasty, even though the kids doubted it before they had their first taste.
I try to ignore them when they push stuff around on their plate, but inevitably I was asked, "What's in it?"
"If you must know, it's leftover macaroni and cheese with hamburger, tomato sauce and Sloppy Joe seasoning."
My eight-year-old son was impressed. Mind you, this is the same child that's impressed with whatever odd thing he finds on the street and gives to me, things I sometimes have to deposit directly into the trash. The girls were more cautious.
"What do you call this again?"
"She said, ‘shutupandeatit'."
"Oh, I get it!"
"What's for dessert, Momma?"
Sure, it's not Wall Street, but cram seven of us in a kitchen that is less than 200 square feet and the adrenaline starts pumping. "I'll take seconds!"
"Are there thirds?"
"You want seconds? Here you go. And, no, you can't have thirds because you'll vomit. Move your elbow out of your sister's plate."
"I don't want to sit by him; he'll get sick on me."
"Stop looking at me!"
"Right foot on yellow, left hand on blue, right hand on green… Okay. Is everybody ready?"
"Bless us, O, Lord and these Thy gifts that we are about to receive…"
(Raucous laughter from the offending boy.)
"And God bless you."
"Can I wash my pork chop? I think I'm going to be sick now."
The Family Table: Make time for more than just dinner with your family. Get in there and swap some of those germs, catch those screwed up faces when you present the entrée and sit back and take it all in with your beloved spouse while your cherubs cast lots for the side dishes.
And don't forget to duck those flying mashed potatoes.