Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Past Deadline: You Will Eat These Meatballs...

I’ve been a mom for almost a decade now – longer if you count the time Child No. 1 was in the womb.

I know that’s nothing compared to others. Once you’re a mom, you’re always a mom, even when your own kids are old. You’ll always worry about them. I always come back to the friend of my mom who told me – about a decade ago – that I would never sleep well again because I would always be waiting for a phone call or wondering what they were doing in a far-off city or whatever.

Sigh. I can see how that might happen.

This isn’t a column about worry or sleep, though. My (belaboured) point is that with nearly 10 years in the bag I should really know better by now.

I should know there is absolutely no point in thinking that new recipe you are trying is going to be beloved by all the short people, even if it is little tiny meatballs in a sweet tomato sauce. They like hamburgers. They like ketchup. They’ll love these, right?

You can guess where this is going.

It had been a busy day for domestic activity. I always have a feeling of accomplishment when I get the house cleaned up because a) it is a small house that is very quickly overtaken by clutter and cat hair and b) I did not pass the entrance exam for Martha Stewart’s Basic Housekeeping 101.

Recent floor work in our sun porch meant the contents of said area had been moved into our dining room. Last week we finally got everything shuffled back out to the sun porch and I was feeling quite pleased about things looking somewhat presentable again.

So on that day I was busy trying to keep up appearances, while navigating the usual mounds of laundry and heaps of dishes.

Meanwhile, Boychild had friends over, and to avoid the continuation of a very vocal boys-against-girl war, I extracted Girlchild from the melee and we made cookies.

Even with all that I had time to construct the new meatball concoction. It would be so great!

The recipe made tonnes and, because I was absolutely convinced this would become a Beloved and Cherished Family Recipe™, I was happy with the volume since that would mean I could freeze leftovers and be a step ahead with a homemade meal at some future rushed time.

As it baked in the oven it smelled as good as I expected. The kids peered in and voiced their approval. All seemed destined for success.

Until they sat down and took the first bite.

“No offence, Mom, but I don’t like this,” said Girlchild. She thought the sauce, which was sparse on her plate, tasted too much like barbecue sauce. Until now I didn’t realize that would be a problem, as usually barbecue sauce is on the “safe” list.

Even though I billed them as being “little hamburgers in sweet ketchup” (because it’s all about the marketing, you know), Boychild, my ketchup liker, didn’t like. This is the same child who said just the other day: “Oh man! We’re out of broccoli!” And he loves mushrooms. I kid you not.

At least Groom-boy liked it. He even had seconds. My make-ahead meals went to grandparents.

I couldn’t help but be annoyed and disappointed because, of course, after all the preparation there was much whining about the meal and oh the hunger and so on.

Groom-boy commenced a rant about Fatness and Diabetes and Scurvy and the Scourge of Eating Too Much Pasta. “What DO you people like?” he asked. I disappeared into my office to write an inspired column. I really like pasta, but it didn’t really seem like the right time to defend it.

It is somewhat of a personal mission for me to continue to try new recipes in the faint hope they can be added to the repertoire. Perhaps in future I will a) remember to lower my expectations and b) remind myself that my mother told me, after I left for university, that she was so sick of corn she would probably never eat it again.

I look forward to exercising my palate in about another decade….

Published in The Perth Courier, Dec. 1/11

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