My confession: I’m a culinary cheater.
Not all the time. Just sometimes. Well, ok, pretty often.
Let me explain.
I take some pride in preparing dinner at home virtually every night. Sounds fairly noble and impressive, right? Well….a whole ‘lotta those meals are far from gourmet masterpieces. Actually, not even close to fancy. The majority of them have fewer than 5 ingredients and take under half an hour to prepare.
We Real Women are busy ladies. When I’m getting home late, and exhaustion is seeping into my veins, there is limited chance I’m going to cook what I’d call a “real meal.” Besides, we’d like to eat earlier than midnight. Luckily my husband and son are just so happy that I’ll do the cooking that they will accept pretty much whatever I put together. They are my guinea pigs for new recipes, and my bargain-basement-consumers of Speed Meals.
There are times when I will be on a stretch of Speed Meals. (Warning, those with easily queasy stomachs may wish to skip ahead at this point). Recently I served up such culinary delights as pizza made with Pillsbury dough crust, followed by pork chops coated with Shake ‘n Bake (yes, they still make that!), followed by club sandwiches (otherwise known as turkey sandwiches on toast with bacon), then sloppy joes… and then tonight I quick fried up some shrimp and pieces of chicken, tossed in some veggies, threw it over Spanish rice and voila – pseudo jambalaya.
When I get on these rolls of Speed Meals, I start to feel a bit guilty and decide I need to redeem myself by making a “real meal” on a weekend. This past weekend I made a bean soup (the kind that simmers on the stove for 3 hours) and focaccia bread. My husband was so enamored with it, he said “this is so good, it is like cake-bread.” Huh… ok, I guess it had been a while since something special came out of the kitchen. I used to wonder if my mom was watching me from heaven and shaking her head at some of the quick concoctions I was throwing together. Then I remembered some of the Speed Meals we had as kids. How about corned beef hash out of the can, or my brother’s and my favorite, creamed corn with hot dogs cut up in it? Yup, I learned from the best of ‘em.
I don’t think I’m alone in the need to provide Speed Meals for my family. That’s why I think we need to create support groups for those of us who are brave enough to admit to being Culinary Cheaters. We need a safe haven where we can admit to the good, the bad, and the ugly of our dinners. Where we can pat each other on the back and say “that’s ok, meal time isn’t really about the food.” I can picture it now: I’ll stand up among a circle of other Real Women and say “Hi. My name is Marjorie. I served my family scrambled eggs for dinner last night. “
Come on, let’s show each other the support we need. Who’s with me?