Saturday, May 21, 2011

Meal or No Meal?

I have added my own game show to the tradition of "Deal or no Deal?" I"m calling it "Meal or No Meal?"

I think I can compete with "Deal or No Deal?" host Howie Mandel but I refuse to shave my head.

My show works this way.

I have just been on a homeschool field trip to measure the width at the widest spot in the Fox River, the pediatrician, the post office, the oil change place, and pharmacy. But, of course, I am expected at 6:00 Pm to be home and produce a sumptuous, savory, and satisfying meal.

It's my 26 or is it 6 kids who are opening up the briefcases showing clues as to what they want for dinner. My kids claim they really aren't all that picky when it comes to eating but it's not true. One of them wants Kosher and organic, one is eating Atkins, and another one is eating carbs only. Then I have the child who wants no refined sugar or caffeine. Finally I have two who refuse anything unless you have to peel it or crack it to find the natural food inside like bananas or peanuts. Try making a meal out of that!

In the 17 days over Christmas break our college age kids joined us at home and with all of us bellying up to the table three times a day I estimated that before "vacation" was over I would have prepared 408 meals. That's eight people at three meals a day for 17 days. You do the math.

My son Pooka had the nerve to ask me, "Why wasn't I getting out more? Didn't I want some "me" time?"

"You've just got to make the time," he advised.

So the lights come on and here we are in front of the "Meal or No Meal?" studio audience. I open the refrigerator and produce the frozen pheasant my husband shot last fall. It's frosty, somewhat red, and has a tail feather sticking out.

"Meal or no meal?" I ask."

The kids huddle and confer. "No meal!" they yell.

I then walk over to the microwave and open the door so all can see the macaroni and cheese plate that got set on 10 minutes instead of 1 minute. They look like taconite iron pellets painted black. My husband plans to use them to shoot more pheasants. I point at both and say, "Meal or no meal?" (I am thinking I should have made it in the oven instead of the microwave because when I do that it's so much easier to pass off ready made meals as my own.)

They hesitate for a moment and then start jumping up and down, "No meal!" Everyone cheers.

I then casually walk over to the oven and open the door. There are two turkey legs from Thanksgiving that fell off and have been covered by aluminum foil for the last three months. Each one now appears to have the rough skin of a tyrannosaurus Rex. "Meal or no meal?" I ask.

"Maybe we should take it," one desperate kid pleads.

I tell them it's from the new genre of cooking called "minimalistic." It suits an extremely busy mom just fine. Some defeathered turkey legs and eight washed plums in an earthy, homemade basket in the middle of the table puts me on the cutting edge.

"No sirree!" the others respond. "No meal! No meal!"

"Very well," I say. I stroll over to the pantry closet, open it, and show the kids five potatoes that have grown horns like Santa's reindeer. They are soft, pliable, and now a lovely green. Just in time for St. Patrick's Day. "Meal or no meal?" I ask with a smile.

"Don't do it!" our youngest shouts. "I hate green."

The older children relent and say, "No meal!"

I casually close the doors and walk over to the couch in the living room. I warn them we are getting down to their last choice. I then lift up the middle couch cushion and produce the bag of Cheetos that was left there when my oldest son entered first grade.

"They're still orange," I say, "at least when you pull them apart. It fits in with the trendy medieval style of eating where no silverware is used."

The kids start to waiver. Someone lunges for the bell but then pulls back. "No meal!" they announce.

At that I take my coat, purse, and keys and casually answer, "You win! There's No Meal tonight. I'm going to Panera to eat supper with the Banker (your father) . See you tomorrow night, same time, same channel."

Behind me I hear the oven door open and one of the kids ask, "Why are those turkey legs still moving?

1 comment:

Jackie said...

This was soooo funny! I love your wit. I had to read it to my husband and daughter who loved it as much as I did. My daughter said to share it on FB.
Thanks for making this homeschooling momma laugh today!!

Jackie who stays busy homeschooling a high-spirited 14 year old dyslexic sweetie.

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