Thursday, August 13, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

The children have taken over cooking dinner, a dream come true for someone who has been cooking dinner for forty years. We’ve yet to see what sort of dream it is and how long it lasts. My son, his wife and their five-year-old son have lived with my husband, my special needs daughter and me for nearly six years.

As a child my son did little cooking beyond toasted cheese sandwiches. Since then he has become a good cook. His wife, who was raised with maids in Brazil, knew nothing of cooking when she came to this country, but has learned a lot in the past 20 years. Something that I sought to model as the chief cook and bottle washer in my kitchen is the necessity of economy. Ana admits that the notion of shopping with more than one meal in mind and reading the ads before hand is difficult for her to learn. She is accustomed to thinking of something she’d like to have, go get the ingredients from the store, cook it, eat it and whatever is left over becomes a science experiment.

So when they asked if they could cook in order to teach my home-schooled grandson math, nutrition, etc. I had dollar signs in my eyes since it upsets me to throw out moldy food. Since they aren’t learning by example, I thought, maybe more practical lessons were called for for more than little Gabriel. I assented.

It was nice that first night knowing that I didn’t have to do more than tell the children where I’d put the zucchinis our cousin brought to the family reunion. I could read, write, and watch the evening news.

Now when they cook their own dinners for themselves, Frank and Ana are likely to eat late. They live their lives with a rather laid back attitude. Maybe it is the fact that they are rather disorganized or maybe it is Ana’s Brazilian background. That first evening the news, both national and local, came and went and although delicious smells wafted up the stairs, there was no call that dinner was imminent. Finally at 8 PM I called down the stairs and asked if we were going to eat soon. Yes, it was ready.

Now the ratatouille the children made was wonderful, but it had taken them four hours to prepare. At that rate they were going to tire of this quickly and we would starve. Actually, once school starts and I am back to work this sort of schedule is not going to work for me. I get up at 5 AM and so go to bed pretty early. I have a routine of dinner, the news, walk the dog, call my mother, watch the previous day’s Daily Show and Colbert Report, sleep. I can be a little bit flexible, but now where Jon Stewart is concerned.

Night two was black beans and rice, a Brazilian mainstay with the addition of some Costco brats. We ate at 6:55 PM. The next day my daughter Amy and I left Gig Harbor to go to the coast and here we are eating at times more reasonable in my estimation. The children are coming tomorrow and they’ve a new ratatouille recipe they want to try!


Jo said...

I understand about wanting to eat at 5 or 6, but how nice to have someone else doing the cooking. How was the new ratatouille recipe?

Stephanie Frieze said...

The first ratatouille was wonderful if rather tardy. They are going to make the second batch at the beach. I'm putting something aside in case of emergency. :-)

Stephanie Frieze said...

Ana has put off going to Brazil until January so I may get a few dinner-cooking-free months. Who knows?