Friday, October 9, 2009

What's for dinner?

When I was growing up, my daddy would get home at 5 o’clock, wash his hands and immediately sit down at the dinner table where my sister and I would be waiting. Mama would then hand him the paper and pour him a glass of tea. We would say the blessing and then we would eat. Every night. Same time. All four of us. Together. At the table. What a miracle!

As a result, I make every effort for my family to eat together, although lately it’s been a lot harder. I’ve been working more and haven’t quite gotten the hang of having meals prepared ahead of time or even thawed out, for that matter. I feel so accomplished for getting the kids off to school having eaten some semblance of breakfast that I totally forget about dinner. Until my ride home from work, that is, when I am stuck in traffic and absolutely starving. And, trust me; you wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry.

“Why don’t you carry a granola bar in your purse?” my frustrated husband will say when I’m getting edgy because I haven’t eaten, and there is nothing gluten-free around. Actually, he puts it a little stronger than that, but I’ve cleaned it up for this blog.

Anyway, last night I wondered the same exact thing as I ransacked the glove compartment looking for something edible the kids left behind. It was then I learned a valuable lesson. If kids leave it behind, it is NOT edible.

Hamburgers? No, had that Monday. Hot dogs? Those are cancer sticks! Pizza? We have a left-over one in the fridge; make that two, one is from the week before. Pork chops? Yes, that’s it! I thought as I navigated Atlanta traffic.

So, I called my husband who was at football practice with the kids, and proudly announced, “We are having pork chops!”

“With mashed potatoes and gravy?”

Sigh. “Sure.”

(Fortunately, he was raised on instant and doesn’t know any better. Thanks, Mom-in-law!)

I could almost taste those chops when I realized it was growing increasingly late, and those were rather large pieces, and I really don’t think they are thawed out. In fact, they may still be in the freezer.

Rotisserie chicken! Healthy, tastes good, I can buy some potato salad to go with it. So, I called the hubby again.

“How about rotisserie chicken?” I said, shattering his visions of gravy bowls.

“You didn’t pack your granola bar, did you?”

Once in town, I stopped by my new friendly neighborhood grocery store, their slogan, not mine. I put a few things in my buggy, feeling pleased with myself because now I can do a little grocery shopping, too, as I looked all over the deli department – no chicken.

“Excuse me, but where are your rotisserie chickens?” I asked an employee, feeling anxious.

He pointed to an empty rack with a sign that read, “Rotisserie chicken, guaranteed from 4-7 or tomorrow’s is free.”

“But it’s empty,” I whined.

“Looks like we’re out,” he said and shouted for a woman in the back three or four times – loudly.
“What do ya want?” she barked, pushing her mop over the floor.

“Do you have any more rotisserie chicken, please?”

“All gone!” she yelled. Apparently she had not packed a granola bar, either.

“But this was going to be my dinner,” I said, looking at the man, who apparently had no control over the deli lady. Her look shot both of us down.

“Can I get my free one tomorrow?” I asked, getting my hopes up that I won’t have to spend another evening scrounging for food.

“Nope, that offer ends at 7.”

“What time is it?” I asked.


“AW, COME ON!” I shouted and pushed my buggy out of the way.

I’d like to say this was the first fit I’ve had in a grocery, but it was not. I had one once before in the self-checkout line that involved a baby, a toddler, a teen, a head of lettuce, and a dozen witnesses.

I know what I can make, I think, as I walk out the door and drive home quickly, so I can get it on the table before the gang arrives.

“Breakfast for dinner,” I said to my husband on the cell phone after he called. (Don’t you love cell phones? That’s sarcasm).

“We’re out of milk,” he said.

“Well, I’m not allowed back in the grocery store. You’ll have to stop on YOUR way home.”

And that is just what he did. It may have been 8 p.m., instead of 8 a.m., it may have been milk and juice instead of sweet tea, we may have been eating off paper plates, our blessing may have been sung to the tune of Superman, and I may be half-crazy, but at least we were all eating together.

Amen and pass the butter!

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