It’s swimsuit weather, the kids are all summering, and I learned I’ve been letting the family down in the diet department. The children lined up to bring this to my attention. Apparently, there is NO FOOD in the house. They are united on this point, and vocal, and the neighbors are now convinced we are starving them on purpose.
This comes as something of a surprise. Our grocery bills haven’t gone down, and you have to put a shoulder to the door of the fridge to get it shut. True, I haven’t got round to cleaning it out recently. It’s on my list. After ‘learn power napping’, and ‘schedule in-home insurance check-up’ I think.
But anyway, I quickly discover the problem. Dad has NO CLUE what EVERYBODY knows, namely, what ALL OTHER children ALL get to eat ALL THE TIME, except at OUR house.
They take me to the kitchen to look into it.
And what I discover is, our home has become dangerously low on a whole cornucopia of sweet, salty, fat filled, factory processed munch that is essential to the development of modern preteens and adolescents.
The pantry has no frosted or creme filled anything. Apart from a packet of stale ginger crisps, cookie stockpiles have gone to zero. One half bag of white corn tortilla chips sits alone, as if potato chips had never been invented. And there’s no sign of any kind of ” -itos” whatsoever. No candies, no frozen pops, chocolate, sweet rolls, toaster whatsits, mini cakes, sodas, or bags of sugar coated anything. It’s a crises. We need to get to the bottom of this.
I blame my wife.
‘The house is full of food’, she says when I call. Eggs, she tells me, and I repeat it to the kids. They shake their heads. Salad, rice cakes, popcorn, cheese, turkey, tuna, tortillas, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, fruits, whole wheat crackers, chicken, nuts.
‘Nuts!?’ they shout.
I try to reason with their mother. ‘They’re not buying it’, I say.
‘There’s plenty of food’, she says, ‘and when they really get hungry they’ll eat it. They just figure you’re a pushover and will go buy them junk.’
‘Your mother thinks you’re fat’, I tell them. Not the thing to say to three girls, but I realize it a split second too late. My son’s so skinny he knows I’m just blowing smoke.
‘You have to go to the store, NOW!’ They’re starting to get that wide-eyed ‘remember the time you left the sliding door open and Herby the hamster got out, permanently’ look.
‘I tell you what’, I say. ‘I’ll make you all a quesadilla’.
‘OK,’ they say, like maybe that was really the plan all along.
I fry up some onion til it’s just starting to get transparent, still crunchy. Then I melt a little butter in a pan, coat one side of a wide flour tortilla, and set it aside on a plate. A little more butter, low medium heat, melted and the second tortilla goes in. Spread on a layer of cheese, some chopped tomato, the onion, a little shake of cumin spice, some chopped up chicken, and the second tortilla goes on top, fast as I can. I put a lid on, and lift it every minute or two to check the underside of the bottom tortilla. It needs to get light brown and flaky crisp, which it does just shy of four minutes. Then, big spatula, hand on top, flip the whole thing in one smooth motion, cook the other side til it’s light brown, flaky crisp. Hot and melted inside, done.
It takes two, but they polish them off and are gone.
Later I check again whether there’s any missed sweets, behind the vases in the top cupboard. Just to be sure. Nada. Well, that spared me having to get rid of them. For the good of the kids, of course.