May 18, 2010

Substitute Chef

5/18/2010 — cori
As I walk into the kitchen with my groceries for the week, I find a little note from Gavin on top of this cookbook. It reads, "Mom, for one week, can we please have dinners out of this cookbook? They look so good! Thanks! Love, Gavin" Where was he when I was agonizing over what meals to cook for the week? This is the most dreaded chore of my profession (mommyhood). I love to cook, I love to serve people, I love to see the smiles on their faces when they are enjoying my meals and believe it or not, I even love to grocery shop (I attribute that solely to the wonderful people at my grocery store). But I HATE, utterly hate trying to decide what it is we should eat week in and week out. I can't commit. There are too many options to choose from. I wish someone would just make a weekly menu for me. Life would be so much easier that way. But life is not about being easy and I'm too picky of an eater to let anyone else make our menu - thus, the cycle begins again each week with, "So guys, what should we have for dinner this week?"

Hence, you can understand the irony upon seeing this little note AFTER going thru the dreaded ritual of meal planning. That didn't stop me from running to Gavin and giving him a big hug for rescuing me from next week's torture session.

Since he was given the green light, he decided to write out our menu and then proceeded to write the grocery list of items we needed. I could get used to this. The whole "not thinking about it" part did wonders for my brain capacity that week. I felt energized, renewed. I might just promote him to my personal chef. Granted, he didn't pick one meal I could eat...but that didn't matter to me, I can always throw a salad together and be semi-happy.

Here is my new chef in action. He loved the freedom of controlling the family's food choices; of following the recipe all on his own without me standing over his shoulder. He actually told me to "Go sit down Mom, I can do it all." He doesn't have to tell me twice. I was actually surprised by some of his menu selections such as Greek Salad. He told me he just "loved red onions", since when? Come to find out, my whole family loves red onions, who knew? Matter of fact, everyone loved everything he made. There wasn't one "Ewwww...what's this??" or "Do I have to eat it?" like I'm normally accustomed to when testing a new recipe. He was praised, lauded and hailed a wonderful chef. Looks like I've cooked my way out of a job.

In this picture he's making Spicy Bean Soup. Even I liked that and I don't like beans. We each got like 3 spoonfuls only because he failed to notice the serving size. Just one of the many lessons learned while figuring out this whole chef business. Needless to say, we raided the refrigerator for leftovers afterwards.

Now on any given week we have meal choices already in pre-ordained days of the week...but that is just an outline, a guide if you will. Who actually eats what they plan on each day? We're not that organized. I like the freedom in deciding, "Hmmm, I don't really feel like eating that tonight, I think I'll pick this instead." Unfortunately, Gavin doesn't get that. He doesn't understand the whole 'feeling' part of this process. Bennett and I are in touch with our feelings, but Gavin, he likes to do things exactly like the book says, no variation, no deviating, stick to the rules and no one will get hurt kinda guy. So, when I switched up a meal on him and asked him to make Greek Salad on a day it wasn't written down for, he about flipped out, "What?!? It's not on the menu until Wednesday!" I like to refer to this 'feeling' as intuition. I had a feeling that the fresh ingredients needed would go bad before he made this dish and didn't want to see that happen, so I up-ed the day on him. I told him it's called, "going with the flow". Once he wrapped his brain around the idea, he was cool with it.

His hardest entree was one called Salmon Fish Cakes. Very labor intensive but also very delicious. He did such a good job and didn't complain one bit. However, I advise getting salmon that already has the skin and bones taken off. This particular recipe required a quick run to the store to get the right fish by the person who made the oversight in the fish department - me. But dinner was still great 2 hours later than expected. The one meal he never got to make was Quiche. He was really looking forward to that one and kept pronouncing it "kee-shay". It was quite cute to see the french chef in him come out. But, Mommy wasn't in the mood for kee-shay. I wanted pizza. We were able to twist the kids' arms on that one. Talk about role reversal!

He even treated us to Crepe's for dessert one night. Very cool. Why have I never tried this? I'm thinking I might start using the Children's cookbook from now on. We filled them with cool whip and jelly and had very happy tummies! The crepes that is - not the kids.

I'm liking the perks that come with older children: no more diaper duty, no waking at random times in the middle of the night, no more cleaning up all the food in and around a high chair three times a day, no runny noses...the list goes on and on. But believe it or not, I'll always miss those chores associated with those ages, but I'll also treasure the joys and unknown that each phase of life brings us with these, my most favorite people in the world. Growing into life is always a wonderful, risk-taking, love-filling, age-changing, mess-making, constant-learning, unknown adventure. Carpe Diem!

If you ever stop by, I'll make sure and have Gavin whip you up a little kee-shay.

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