When I was a child, I had a fever. No wait, that’s Pink Floyd. Let me start again.
When I was a child, I would watch my mother meticulously plan each week’s menu, and then develop her entire shopping list around the menu’s necessary ingredients. Her weekly meal-planning usually included sensible family-pleasers like tacos, spaghetti, chili, and fish sticks and fries, but occasionally Shit-on-a-Shingle would rear it’s ugly ham-studded head, or once in awhile Sweet and Sour Pork would crash the dance, the bane of my youthful existence.
This past spring, in an effort to improve my diet and become more organized, I adopted my mother’s weekly menu development strategy. Unfortunately, I was unable to sustain this military level of meal-planning precision, and suspended the practice after a few weeks. But lucky for you, I just found an old menu from this era on the desktop of my computer. It is from the week of March 19, 2007. Let’s begin, shall we?
Menu, week of March 19, 2007
Monday: Spanish rice & beans with black bean & mango salad (chips & sour cream)
Oh, ampersand, will you marry me?...I love you almost as much as I love ellipses & parentheses (& that’s no lie!) …Chips & sour cream is in parentheses because while they are not the star players of this dish, they nonetheless serve an important supporting role in this cast of disturbingly detailed characters. OCD? Frequently, and often!
Tuesday: Omelettes with cheese, chicken for J, diced red pepper, green & red onion, broccoli … Side: hash browns, salsa, hot sauce
Don’t you think it’s magnanimous of me to allow J to eat chicken instead of his usual isolated soy protein and MDF meat substitute? I’m rather impressed with myself. And striking a mighty blow for control freaks everywhere, I even had the foresight to identify which specific condiments to place on the table. Next time I’ll make sure to include salt and pepper, because deviations from the menu carry a stiff and brutal penalty that even Russian prison guards speak of only in hushed, fearful voices.
(Author comment: the omelettes turned out like rubbery, parched tortillas cooked by Satan himself on a grill that can vaporize water three continents away, but the hash browns, doused in ketchup and S & P, were edible.)
Wednesday: Italian rice-a-roni with garbanzos…side of broccoli & steamed carrots
Dear Readers, I’d like to introduce you to my impression of an Institutionalized Meal Fit for a Child with an Undeveloped Palate. We have our fiber-rich protein, our starch-from-a-box, and our vegetables--steamed for vitaminy goodness and chock-full of necessary bodybuilding nutrients. Add a glass of milk and what else do you need to enjoy this fully complete and balanced meal, other than a tongue with damaged taste buds?
Thursday: Pasta with pesto, artichoke hearts, peas, teeny red marinated red pepper strips, & pine nuts; side of leftover scones, garlic toast/bagel/bun, Cabbage
Ah, the scones rear their crusty little heads again! What I particularly enjoy about this day’s menu is my specification for “teeny red marinated red pepper strips” (red is listed twice, in case I missed it the first time). Also, there is an opportunity for improv! Granted, the choice offered (toast/bagel/bun) bounces among three carbohydrate-rich members of the Bread Group, but still! Rigid me of the parsimonious sphincter is offering a choice! I marked this event on the calendar.
Cabbage, with a capital C. So cheap. So stinky. So obviously leftover from my St. Patrick’s theme meal it’s a crying shame.
Friday or Saturday: Fettuccini alfredo, peas, garlic “toast”
Toast is in quotation marks because clearly, by “toast” I mean “clown car.” Also, it’s the end of the week. I am no longer even able to commit to a day on which we will sup our alfredo, peas, and garlic “toast.” I have even built room into my plan for what will surely be my disinclination to cook one more day after such a whirlwind of culinary feats. Do you smell the faintest whiff of fecal matter? You should, because this is anal to the tenth power.
Easy dinner/lunch: Pizza or veggie burgers with corn
Look, an EASY dinner/lunch! It’s dunch. It’s linner. Also, another real-live choice! Pizza OR veggie burgers. For two adults who regularly eat like toddlers being raised on a commune in upstate New York. Now, with corn!
There. Wasn’t that delicious?
Moving on, here are some summertime lessons recently learned:
For the men: When standing next to a low table buttering hot corn on the cob, perhaps it’s not the best idea to be wearing only loose-fitting boxers and a T-shirt.
For the ladies: If there is a dead earwig in the bottom of the toilet bowl and you are of a squeamish persuasion, flush before doing your business. Nothing gives you the Heebie-Jeebies like a cold drop of earwig water splashing up on your buns.
And finally, an update on the monarch wrangling: I now have a full baseball team of caterpillars munching away on milkweed in my bathtub. Nine of them. Nine caterpillars!!! Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom has commandeered the tub. Their little jeeps are leaving black tire tracks all over the porcelain, but thankfully, I have Advanage miracle cleaning fluid to remove them.
You wouldn’t believe how much those little caterpillar dudes can poop. Yesterday I was outside rescuing a few more from a predatory wasp eager to make them an easy meal. Last night, I wept for the mangy, paralyzed squirrel that crawled beneath our front porch to die. When will it end, this urge of mine to save all wildlife? I guess that’s what you might expect from a girl who pecked the back of her own neck with an index finger to fertilize the chicken eggs she was perching on. (Sorry. You'll have to scroll down one entry for this story. My technology skills...they are lacking.)
PS: photos of the bebeh butterflies to come. They like to hide beneath the leaves (making photography somewhat challenging); plus, they’re so small right now that every time you jostle the leaves some of them dive off, suspended by a microfilament of bebeh monarch string. But I shall try again as the cuties grow. You’ll just have to take my word for it that 4 of them are in the 95th percentile for height and weight among 72 hour-olds.