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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • The 'ick" factor

  • Whenever the kids come for a visit we are always excited for the obvious reasons, but it brings even greater delight to Hubby.
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  • Whenever the kids come for a visit we are always excited for the obvious reasons, but it brings even greater delight to Hubby.
     
    When the kids come for a visit they always request the same three or four meals–meals that have been blacklisted from our menu choices.
     
    They aren’t horrendous menu items; spaghetti, tacos, beef and broccoli stir fry and what we have nicknamed “crock-pot chicken. It’s just that for a long time they were our ONLY menu items.
     
    Once upon a time these items were on a strict rotating schedule: Monday-spaghetti (because it is fairly easy and fast and neither Hubby or I like Mondays.)

    Tuesday-Tacos (again, fairly easy and fast and helped us get our daily dose of veggies). Wednesday-beef and brocoli stir fry.
     
    Wednesday is usually an easier day for me and I’m home earlier than most days so I had the privilege of making it.
     
    Thursday-Crock-pot chicken because after beef and brocoli I refused to cook for a day. Beef and Broccoli, at least how we make it, takes a lot of preparation and chopping of veggies. When it is Hubby’s turn to cook it is always an easy, fast meal. Hence crock-pot chicken which involves throwing chicken and a few other ingredients in a crock-pot for 4-6 hours.
     
    Occasionally to spice things up we’d make one of our normal weekday meals on the weekend to throw off the rotation and feel like we were living on the wild side.
    After a couple of years of this, the menu items were tired and old and I was beginning to feel that way about eating them.
     
    For a while I went on a chicken kick to find four other fairly easy meals we could call our “new” menu.
     
    The idea fell on deaf ears, or more notably, clenched teeth as Hubby was getting increasingly stressed wondering what new concoction I would come up with for dinner every night.
     
    Change is hard for the old boy and when he threatened to make spaghetti every night of the week for the next month I  knew I had pushed him too close to the edge.
    It isn’t that he doesn’t like chicken, he was just more comfortable with our routine schedule of the same four meals each week. He was okay with a change here and there, but he craved normalcy.
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    He would try to sneak the black listed menu items in when he thought I was vulnerable. It would go something like this: “What time are you going to be home tonight?” he would sweetly ask me.
     
    “I have to work late so I won’t be home at my usual time,” I would say. “Can you handle cooking supper tonight?”
     
    “Sure!” He’d answer a little too eagerly. “Any ideas of what you would like to have?” 
     
    Usually we would be having this conversation in the height of a busy day or a crisis situation so I would say I would think about it and get back to him.
     
    When enough time had lapsed and he knew I hadn’t thought anymore about what I would like for supper since our initial conversation, he would wait until about an hour before I would be home to ask again. If a menu idea did not immediately pop into my head he would say either he would find something or he’d mentioned in closing that he knew we had all the ingredients for spaghetti.
     
    That lasted until one late night when I was famished and it was way past supper time. I asked if there was anything to eat.
     
    “Yeah, there is some spaghetti in the fridge,” He offered.
     
    I wrinkled my nose, but was too tired to argue.
     
    I warmed up the detested meal and hoped I wouldn’t have the energy to taste it. One bite was all it took.
    “You made this with store bought spaghetti sauce out of a can, didn’t you?” I accused between spitting out the forkful I’d just put in my mouth.
     
    One look at his guilty face was all the answer I needed.
    The following day I made tacos and put extra seasoning in ground beef that I know Hubby doesn’t like. Two can play at this game.
     
    Eventually we came to a truce and decided that the only time the black listed items can come out is when one of us is cooking alone for ourselves.
     
    The kids came, we ate spaghetti, beef and broccoli, tacos and crock-pot chicken while we plastered fake smiles on our faces and made the appropriate yummy noises.
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    While we are sad that we won’t get to the see the kids for another month, I’m relieved we won’t be having to eat those meals again for at least another 30 days.
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