I so vividly remember the words my mom uttered… oh, probably three times each day. You may remember a similar phrase from your mom. Let me set the scene:
Breakfast, lunch or dinner. The family gathers for a meal. Table is set. The clinking sounds of utensils is heard as kids anticipate the arrival of food. Mom places filled serving dishes in center of table.
ME: I don’t like pork chops.
MOM: Yes, you do. You always eat pork chops.
BROTHER #1: I hate spinach.
MOM: It’s good for you.
ME: I thought we were having lasagna.
BROTHER #2: Me, too.
MOM: We had lasagna yesterday.
ME: I love lasagna.
BROTHER #1: I love fish sticks.
MOM: No, you don’t.
BROTHER #1: (laughs) Only kidding. (panicking) Don’t make them tomorrow…
ME: I can’t eat these.
MOM: THIS IS NOT A RESTAURANT. EAT YOUR DINNERS. NOW.
I certainly get where my mom was coming from. I get the shopping and bag handling and putting away and taking out and preparing and cooking. I get what goes into a family dinner and I appreciate the work. I know. I did it myself for years.
But with my grandchildren? Ah. My kitchen kind of IS a restaurant.
Take last evening, for example. My husband made the most delicious stuffed peppers. He sauteed garlic and peppers and secret herbs and mixed in the ground turkey. The aroma in our kitchen was heavenly. During this cooking fest, in came Audrey’s 4 boys for a little visit. This is what happened…
WILLIAM: That smells delicious, Pop-up.
POP-UP: It’s stuffed peppers.
WILLIAM: Oh. (thinking) I don’t like stuffed peppers.
ALEX: Me either.
POP-UP: Have you ever had stuffed peppers?
WILLIAM: No. I don’t like them. So I’ve never had them.
ALEX: Me either.
POP-UP: Do you want some American Chop Suey?
ALEX: No. I don’t like American Chop Suey.
AUDREY: Yes, you do.
ALEX: No, I don’t. I never liked it.
ME: Do you want peanut butter & jelly?
POP-UP: What about you, Benjamin. What do you want?
BENJAMIN: Pudding. An’ fish.
So… what did these short-order Grandma and Pop-up do? Of course! Alex got his Smart Balance peanut butter & jelly sandwich on his favorite wheat bread, cut in quarters. Benjamin got his chocolate pudding (and we’re not talking just any chocolate pudding… we stock his favorite, Zen Soy Pudding) and fish (you don’t actually think an almost 2-year old likes fish, do you? No. I’m talking Pepperidge Farm Goldfish!). Little Henry has his own cabinet, filled to the brim with baby food. And Pop-up took a few spoonfuls of his turkey mixture before folding in the rice, and set it aside. Mixed with pasta shells, it became the coveted American Chop Suey for William.
All the while, Audrey was shaking her head and saying, “You didn’t do this for me when I was a kid!”
Of course not. This restaurant is only open for grandchildren!