Peeling and Chopping

So another of my recent goals, is “to find a cook.”  I am so tired of being bullied by the children into buying Sonic or other limited, unhealthful choices in our fair town.  My first step toward achieving this lofty goal was to stop at a local health food cafe (this was a week ago) to see if they would do take-out sort of stuff on a regular basis.  They would, however, I realized how limited their menu was, mainly chicken/ham salad, buffalo burger, or southwestern salad.  Hummm.  Not real helpful, especially when the buffalo burger is too dry for the tween boy and sole burger eater in the house.

I tried a gourmet style casserole service over a year ago, but it wasn’t that healthy or tasty.

I kind of had a hunch when writing that goal, that I was going to end up being the new cook.  I confess.  I am a picky eater, but not in the kid sense of the word, but in the health snob sense.  So much so, that I don’t eat enough, because well, fast choices are unhealthy, and the alternative takes time… planning and “doing” ahead.

This afternoon and evening, in between transporting teen daughter there and back after school and supervising tween boy’s piano practicing – which he actually did with some focus today, in spite of jumping up every 3 minutes ( is he sneaking caffeine somewhere?) – I engaged Winter Vegetable Crumble.  Hey, how could a kid NOT like oats and rosemary?  Rosemary that’s supposed to be good for the circulation, which my massage therapists keep hinting about…but that’s another day’s blog.

I hate peeling and chopping.  No matter how old I get, it doesn’t get better.  Peeling potatoes, carrots…yes, I buy organic, so why peel?  Kids.  Picky eater kids.  So picky, that it was a waste of time peeling the carrots, because they were still afraid of them.  The potatoes, well that might have facilitated more bites tried, but not a significant percentage. Teen daughter, ever planning ahead, stipulated on the way home, “Okay.  Here’s the deal.  I’ll try a few bites, but then I’m going to have rice, and I’ll perform my monologues for you.”

Teen daughter: “Its gross, but it’s not that bad.  Only a couple of bites.  I wouldn’t eat a whole meal of it.”  Tween boy: “Humph.  I ate more than you, Mom.”  (lie)

I figure I can’t feel guilty, if I at least put a decent meal on the table.  They don’t eat it, that’s their problem.  I’ve done my job.  And I get a healthy meal out of it.  But the peeling and chopping?  Peeling is just time consuming and dangerous, always waiting for that accidental scrape of the skin.  Chopping is even worse.  Maybe it’s my thin, long, piano fingers connected to rice crispy wrists.  Trying to chop “bite size pieces” through even medium sized potatoes is almost terrorizing, as I envision hands attached to patients who are post flexor tendon surgery.  I remember the “No Man’s Land” zone of the palm, where surgery is successful only if you’re lucky, and hundreds of repetitions of finger stretches, and therapists putting their body weight into the knuckle to make it bend, is still not enough to make the finger close.  I pull my fingers away from the knife’s path, and hope the potato doesn’t slide as I try to muscle my bony elbow and nonexistent forearm muscles through the flesh… potato flesh.

I’ve tried the meditative thing.  Chopping “in the moment.”  It doesn’t work.

So, it’s back to browsing through cookbooks and online ideas, hoping that by some miracle a heavenly tasting, stellar product is identified, that requires only a blender, a can opener, and a stirring spoon.

For now, I am a happy mother – which is yet another recent goal. Accidental goal achievement.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  My daughter actually performed two monologues for us after this peel and chop dinner.  She has always been “embarrassed” to practice or perform for me.  The drama queen is growing up.  And she’s gooooood!

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