Adult children get
hungry. If they are training in mixed martial arts, nursing a baby, living on
their own at college, or bored from having just graduated high school, they can
become especially ambitious when visiting their parents refrigerator.
Couple those circumstances (each of which hold true for various of my
offspring) with midlife fiduciary challenges wrought by downsizing, inflation,
and career changes, and up pops a familial conundrum; the kids need to feel
welcome at home, but the grocery budget cant be exceeded.
First, I faced that
perplexity by offering up pots. I made vast quantities of soups,
stews, sauces, lentils, pastas, and braised fruits from scratch. While the
novelty of healthy and of fresh lasted, the crowd
didnt clamor. Subsequently, my grown sons and daughters, some of whom
have children of their own, grew impatient and cried for meat.
Im not opposed to sucking down cuts of two or four-legged farm friends.
Chicken, cows and sheep are, in my esteem meant to be eaten. My problem, in the
aforementioned scenario, though, was that animal-based protein quickly gets
expensive when served in the quantities my dear ones seek. So, I offered them
That grain, as well as
amaranth, spelt, teff, kamut, and a few others, is possessed of a fairly high
level of protein. Also, relative to flesh, its affordable. Accordingly, I
boiled that stuff, baked it, sautéed it with onions, and made casseroles
out of it. Nonetheless, I had few takers. Rather than eat bovid
food, my sons and daughters raided the freezer for the bits of
cloven-hoofed, ruminants that I had planned to reserve
there for future, special occasions.
During my next attempt
to feed the big ones, I tried a compromise; stir-fry. That mostly
wholesome meal features a small amount of hot oil, herbs, lots of vegetables,
and a measure of animal pulp, served over generous amounts of rice (or leftover
quinoa). I figured it would satisfy my off springs carnivorous tendencies
while helping me maintain my fiduciary fidelity.
All initially went
well. My young men and women praised the smells emanating from our kitchen. As
politely as sibling relationships permitted, they assembled for portions.
Thereafter, the scene grew ugly.
My kids insisted,
because they were emerging adults, they could serve themselves. Barking, they
reminded me that they worked, went to university, parented, served in the armed
forces, and more. Surely, I ought to trust them with a spatula. Consequently, I
stood aside and let them regulate the division of goodness.
The first one took more
than half of the stir-frys meat, the second one took seventy-five per
cent of the rest of the meat, and the third took most the rest of the remaining
meat, leaving exactly two tiny strips of meat for the last one and none for my
husband and me. Meanwhile, only some of the vegetables and herbs had been
scooped up and none of the quinoa had been claimed.
After shaking my head
at my grown children, I returned to my scheming. I tried something
The next time that
everyone was home, there were signs posted, in two languages, in the fridge and
in the pantry. I believe that Mommy, Daddy, and the youngest need to eat
choice food as much as do the faster, older children. The signs I made
indicated portion size and warned of dire happenstances than might befall
anyone who failed to heed my very explicit rules. Despite freely uttered grunts
and groans, balance was restored to my familys plates.
These days, everyone
receives a similar amount of dead animal to eat. Everyone can access as much
vegetables and carbs as they desired. No one is emotionally sated, but everyone
is physically full.
The system still needs
some adjustments, however. In the end, all of the roast, some of the salad, and
none of the quinoa gets eaten.