Tag Archives: Meal

You Deserve a Fork Today

“Why didn’t we do this years ago?” I savored my pasta Alfredo. My husband clasped my hand across the restaurant table.

We knew the answer.

Dining out now: priceless. Dining out as a family decades ago: panic.

Like many young parents, we cruised drive-throughs. The pizza delivery guy was our patron saint. Cabin fever drove us to kid-friendly establishments. Or maybe we wanted to watch our small children trash somebody else’s property.

Image by Chris from Pixabay.

Venturing out without Hubby, I wished I could sprout an extra arm. My children shot through restaurant parking lots like pinballs. After chasing them down and gathering survival gear, we headed inside.

If fast-food restaurants were in tune with young mothers, they’d provide parking lot pack mules to carry kids, diaper bags, baby seats, and the Strawberry Shortcake potty my discriminating two-year-old favored. Instead, the pack mule answered to the name “Mommy.”

Normal people ordered their favorite cholesterol. Me? I led my caravan to restrooms while others ate juicy burgers and hot, crusty fries.

My stomach growled. I hadn’t tasted anything warm since the ’70s — except melted ice cream.

Potty Party trumped Pity Party. I unbuttoned, unzipped, toilet-paper-ripped, then reequipped. I sang the Strawberry Shortcake song 19 times. I passed out compliments and balloons for jobs well done. Only two hours later, we emerged triumphant.

Finally approaching the counter, we received gold cardboard crowns. Baby ate his.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

Can you say “free toy”? Sisterly relations disintegrated when the restaurant had only one Princess Penelope Piddle doll. Discontinued.

Grudgingly accepting Princess Penelope Piddle Sings Punk cassettes instead, my offspring talked me into a playground picnic.

Are fast-food restaurants really responsible for children’s obesity? Of 11,451 hamburgers ordered, only 5.37 made it inside my kids.

Also, with chasing them, why do parents gain weight?

Oh. I ate the 11,445.63 leftovers.

When our family attempted meals at restaurants where diners didn’t ride horsies, toddlers left their smiles at the door. Ours loved fast-food forks. In “nice” surroundings, we hid metal ones and handed him spoons. He sent them flying, yelling, “FORK! FORK!” for a solid hour.

Image by Barry Jones from Pixabay.

He couldn’t pronounce Rs.

You figure it out.

The following week, we donned cardboard crowns.

No more. Now, Hubby and I dine out weekly. We remain seated throughout the hot meal and converse.

I don’t even hide my fork.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your should-have-stayed-home restaurant story?

Popcorn and Cake for Supper

Image by Alexa from Pixabay.

I’d thawed meat for supper and pondered side dish possibilities. Salad. If I felt ambitious (and dangerous), fried potatoes.

I didn’t feel ambitious. I didn’t want to cook. Period.

The past 48 years, I’ve faced cooking 17,500+ evening meals. Lord knows, I’ve wanted to skip dinner preparation. But like women past and present, I champion good nutrition. Eating out blows the budget. I also want to set a good example.

If women were honest, though, they ultimately cook because they don’t want their kids to give kindergarten teachers the scoop about questionable meals … or see pictures they drew of a Cheerios-and-Cheetos® supper on display at Parents’ Night.

However, Hubby and I, empty nesters, no longer tremble before kindergarten teachers. We don’t have to be good examples. We put our feet on the furniture. We sometimes skip vegetables.

After this tough week, survival deserves an escape.

Image by Nuno Lopes from Pixabay.

Hubby doesn’t know we’re leaving. He figures it out, though, when I hand him a suitcase.

“We’re going to Paris.”

“I know it’s been rough,” he says, “but how about a movie, instead?”

Any outing, anywhere — short of North Korea — works for me.

Image by Lilly Cantabile from Pixabay.

“Supper.” I offer him cake smothered in ice cream. “I ate the other half.”

“I’ll eat quick—”

“Eat it on the road.” I offer to drive.

Hubby’s mother would never have permitted this. Throw a bowl of cholesterol at a husband and drive him to an expensive movie? She’d rather have driven a getaway car to a bank robbery.

But Hubby gets me. Taking Highway 22 through Gas City doesn’t equal jetting to Paris, but it’s enough.

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay.

Fellow adventurers huddle in the nearly empty theater. Everyday moviegoers? Maybe they’re spies, exchanging secret information while animated nachos and Goobers® high-kick on the screen.

We didn’t go to Paris, so I have to create excitement, right?

As the movie begins, I put my feet on the rail and laugh out loud at funny parts. We devour exorbitant butter-marinated popcorn and drink buckets of Coke®.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay.

We cheer crazies who do life different.

Though movie characters never take five restroom breaks during their rowdy scenes. Nor do they lie awake with heartburn afterward, feeling fat and stuffed as their pillows.

But do they have more fun than we did on this cake-and-popcorn-for-supper night?


Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your escape plan after a tough week?

A Good Breakfast

Medical experts preach, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

I’m glad to comply. Unlike those who inexplicably avoid food all morning, I awake, ready to raid the kitchen. However, nutritionists and I cross forks here. Their idea of a good breakfast and mine don’t even try to get along.

During winter, who wants to leave a cozy bed to face a slimy bowl of vitamin-fortified, fiber-rich wood chips?

In the “good old days,” Sugar Blasters or Corn Syrupies were considered positive sources of energy. Question: Who ever gave birth to children who didn’t possess enough energy? We parents and grandparents are the people who should pack in energy-generating foods. Cheese Danish or chocolate-cream-filled doughnuts present a sufficient alternative.

My mother fixed hot breakfasts during winter: eggs; breakfast meat, when we could afford it; and unlimited toast dripping warm butter and jelly. Pancakes, stacked like records above a turntable. French toast, swimming in Mom’s homemade sugar syrup. “Fill ’em up’” comprised the key concept. She did, deliciously.

When we traveled, Dad decreed inexpensive breakfast as our main meal. Breakfast buffets had not yet made an appearance during the ’60s — which explains that period’s prosperity. Had they existed, my younger brother alone would have struck fear into the hearts of restaurant owners.

We did impact one corner of the international market. Upon seeing his citrus groves stripped, our Mexican mission caretaker referred to us tree-climbing missionary kids as “la plaga norteamericana” (North American plague).

I also savored tortillas baked over a community fire, spread with wild honey. Killjoy Mom worried that the cooks washed their hands maybe once a decade. I worried because the Mexican women, concerned about my skinny frame, attempted to make me eat raw egg.

Since then, I’ve encountered other global ideas of a “good breakfast.” Morning menus in England included: fried kidneys; baked beans on toast; and black pudding, consisting of oatmeal, pork, fried onions and pork blood. Russian immigrants my parents harbored preferred beet borscht and dill pickles.

Breakfasts Dad concocted when Mom was sick — watery canned soup and last-of-the-loaf butter sandwiches — almost seem delectable.

Decades later, when Mom suffered from dementia, Dad’s culinary skills improved. When I visited, I wolfed breakfasts of sausage, eggs, biscuits, and coffee strong enough to serve itself. My doctor would have run screaming, dragging me with her, at the sight. After days of these feasts — plus Dad’s dumping extra on my plate with the command, “Finish up! It’ll just go to waste!”— I almost craved my usual wood chips.

Not. Remembering such wonderful food and my parents’ I-love-you bickering — they now keep each other company in heaven — I loved that good breakfast.

One of the best.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite breakfast?