Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The NEXT Iron Chef

I love the Food Network but I have to say I don't feel much sympathy for these professionals stressing out over only having 30 minutes to serve three people food when they don't have to do the dishes and the kitchens are fully stocked and gleaming with beautiful cooking tools.

These cooking shows need a dose of real reality. Iron Chef Moms.

We know. We've been there. It's Wednesday. You've served pasta two nights in a row, there aren't enough eggs to make breakfast for dinner for everyone and the whole chickens you forgot to take out of the freezer are poultry ice balls of doom. Defrosting would take so long, it would be time for bed and you have this little nag in the back of your head to fix something that a Mom ought to fix, you know, with vegetables and all so you can't quite rationalize a run to McDonald's or ordering Pizza. No. You've got to suck it up and make something.

Welcome to Extreme Dinner Challenge, Kid style.

Okay folks, she's going in the pantry and grabbing a can of black beans. Good call. If she's got rice and tortillas, she's golden for the adolescent, the picky eater and the happy child that eats everything. She'll still have the teen, tween, two toddlers, kindergarten boy and the baby to deal with, but a 1/3 solved in two easy moves is a good start.

Three pots are on but the burners won't light so she goes to the junk drawer, searching for the matches. She finds a box with a good strike side but no sticks, some paper ones that she knows are old and the lone stick of a camping box. Striking the lone wooden one, it breaks. Match one, two and three from the paper won't light.
She's getting nervous. The broken match is returned to, and lo, it catches. That was close but she's got fire and she's cooking. Twenty minutes to six though, she lost a lot of time.

Improvising, she's filling a pot with water. Good call, pasta won't annoy the toddlers or the five year old boy or the tween, that leaves the baby and the teenager, she's closing in on her goal. Meanwhile, there's an interruption. "MOM? How do I do this?" a child who has refused and insisted she doesn't have homework suddenly remembers and now wants one on one time to get through a phonics paper. She rattles off the instructions and hands an extra sharpened pencil to try and anticipate the next crisis.

Out comes a bag of insta salad and oooh, a bowl of carrots. She's moving now. She's in the zone. She hands the teen the baby and the baby food. "Feed him." He looks annoyed. "You'll get a better dinner. If I have to feed him, you get pasta." She then tells the ten year old that is tormenting the five year old to practice his trumpet.

The water is boiling. Angel hair pasta is scooped out of the pot so it can be reused for brocolli. The beans are boiling. They are turned down. The rice in the microwave is beeping. Butter is added.

A tween shows up. "Clear the table." she is told. She humphs until the bargain is made, she can light a candle at the table and we make chocolate milk. She has to make it though. The tween gets busy mixing in the syrup. Eveyrone is happy in anticipation.

Plating in five minutes. It is 5:52. Mom's got eight minutes to dinnertime. Will she make it. Wait, she's gone back in the pantry for a surprise move. She's opening a can of pineapple.

The dishwasher is raided for the appropriate number of spoons. Bowl one, Rice, beans, two tortillas on the side and a dish of salad. Plate two, tortillas of rice and beans mixed, carrots and a dish of pineapple. Plate three, buttered pasta in a bowl, brocolli and pineapple on the side. Plate four and five are duplicates of plate three. Plate six is pasta, brocolli, salad, carrots and a dish of pineapple. Plate seven is a series of coffee cups, one of rice, one of beans, one of carrots, one of pineapple, one of brocolli and one with salad dressing and a dish of salad. Plate 8 is the bottle of whole milk for the baby to finish off his dinner.

Yes, it's a complete dinner for 8 of the 9 but what about the teen? With one minute to go and no meat defrosted, what's the Iron Mom Chef going to do? She grabs two tortillas, puts provolone, salami and pepperoni on them, microwaves for 30 seconds. Wraps them into Stromboli's and adds a bit of salad on the side and a bowl of pineapple and a few carrots for color.

She's done it! It's six o'clock and it's dinner time. Now...in the next round, she'll figure out what she and their father get to eat and in the final competition, what will she do tomorrow when the crutch of pasta has run out?


MightyMom said...

well, until I read this I WAS starting to have that "ready for another baby" feeling.....

but I'm thinking I'm happy to be done at 3. 5 bowls total, everyone likes Kraft Mac N Cheese and ketchup IS a vegetable! appreciating my life.


Mary said...

Sherry you make me laugh! Just what I needed this evening. you are one FANTASTIC Iron Chef! Good luck tomorrow. I can't wait to read what happens!

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