Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Empty Nesters - Part I

The Empty Nesters – Part I

By Allison Adams 09-19-11 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun 09-20-11

One thing that became immediately apparent in our recently emptied nest was the lack of need to provide an endless supply of worms.

Now that there are only two beaks to feed, it’s no long mandatory to maintain a packed pantry and a full refrigerator.

But it’s hard to teach an old bird new tricks.

For me, it has become instinctive to wander through the grocery aisles filling my cart with bread, meat, potatoes, sugary treats, and bags of salty things that are immediately plucked from the shopping bag and ripped open by enthusiastic eaters who have never bothered to learn how to properly operate a chip clip.

The problem of what and how to prepare for supper – for two – instead of a tribe, has proven to more difficult than I had imagined.

For a while my husband and I agreed that we could do with just a “snack supper”. Even so I took care to offer some variety from one night to the next:

Night 1 – Cheddar cheese and crackers

Night 2 – Gouda cheese and crackers

Night 3 – Peanut butter and crackers

Night 4 – Salsa and chips

Night 5 – Cheerios

(It turns out I can only master culinary creativity for 4 nights in a row. Who knew?)

Eventually even I realized that eating every evening meal off of an hors d’oeuvre platter was too good to be true, so I pulled out my apron and went back to the business end of the kitchen and spent half a day hunkered over open flame, homemaking a hearty, healthy stew for my honey.

Alas, I struggled with proportions.

In my birdbrain I’m still cooking for a flock, and since I hate wasting food I had to be resourceful as I attempted served the same thing every night for a week:

Night 1 – Stew and cornbread

Night 2 – Stew over cornbread

Night 3 – Stew, cornbread, and a salad

Night 4 – Beefy vegetable soup (aka, stew mixed with salad), and cornbread crumbles

Night 5 – Cheerios

The following week we ate every evening meal out of a bowl:

Night 1 – Caesar salad

Night 2 – Chef salad

Night 3 – Tuna fish salad

Night 4 – Campbell’s chicken noodle soup

Night 5 – Cheerios

That week we lost a couple of pounds but longed for something just a little more substantial that could be served on a plate.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and I decided the answer to my problem might be found my grocer’s frozen foods section.

When our nest was full I typically bypassed the frozen dinner selections, opting instead for a supply of staples such as tater tots, pizza, ice cream, and anything with a Sister Schubert’s label.

On this grocery visit, I opened the glass freezer door and wept at the amazing possibilities for pre-cooked, portion-controlled meals.

For weeks my husband had inquired what was for supper with cautious anticipation, feigning excitement upon hearing my response – but last night I couldn’t wait to see his reaction when I announced the menu.

“So … uh … what’s for supper?”

“Tonight I’ll be serving braised tips of beef tenderloin au jus over a nutty, long-grained, wild rice. Tender, sweet, baby carrots with a brown sugar glaze. Crisp green beans topped with oven-roasted slivered almonds.”

“In other words”, he replied, “we’re having a TV dinner.”

“It’s a gourmet frozen entrée”, I corrected, politely.

“If it walks like a TV dinner, and talks like a TV dinner, it’s a TV dinner.”

For the rest of the week we are having Cheerios.

1 comment:

  1. Your writing is incredible! I have read at least 10 of your posts so far and am cracking up. Love it. Thanks for sharing your gift with the reading world!