Our own hunger games
Please don’t think there is any more violence than normal in our kitchen. I can assure you that the only bloodshed is by myself, mis-slicing an onion. And the only things that truly goes from alive to dead are the meat and vegetables we eat.
But there are games we play, and there are battles we fight. And like you might imagine, there is a definite government among the people and just a bit of monarchy when it comes to ruling the refrigerator.
And because we all know the story of the Little Red Hen, I can sum it up in one sentence. “There’s the stove, and if you don’t like the meal that I planned, purchased, and prepared, make your own lousy dinner.”
As you might expect, they don’t make their own meals, which is a rather good thing because we would eat butter noodles and chicken nuggets and huevos rancheros (I have one wild eater) every night of the week. Their stunning apathy when it comes to meal preparation leaves me in charge, the sole and absolute ruler of the kitchen. And being in charge has its benefits, such as I get to control what goes into the mouths of the people that I love so much. If I don’t buy donuts, they won’t eat them. Likewise, if I really want banana chips, the delicious snack that no one else but I enjoy, I have the power to throw them in the cart. This is the perk of the monarch.
Like in most government situations with one head honcho, my power is always being tested. Constantly creeping under my skin like toothpicks and kebab skewers is the most frustrating bit of food known to mankind: The snack.
If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me for a snack, you’d find me sitting in a diamond chair on top of my golden palace, with a coffee fountain and a lifetime supply of banana chips. These children, they know exactly how to play a parent when it comes to eating these small bits of food between meals that they claim to need or else they’ll fall over and wilt away into a puddle of slime.
It always happens that they ask for a snack at such a time they won’t be hungry for the delicious dinner that I planned, purchased, and prepared. (See Little Red Hen comment above.) And thus begins our very own Hunger Games.
Scene: Mother busily cooking dinner. Pots are on the stove, bowls and ingredients all over the counter and as usual, we have about 30 minutes before some evening practice event.
“Mom, I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?”
“No. Are you blind? Can you not see that I’m clearly making dinner?”
“I know, but I’m soooo hungry right now I think I might die if I don’t eat something.”
“I’m soooo sorry,” I respond and I find myself chopping onions with a little more vigor.
You can imagine this goes on for quite a bit, until the child slinks away to prepare his or her next strategy. Eventually the child returns.
“What about a healthy snack? If I eat something healthy would that be OK?”
“Maybe. What do you want?”
“Um, is pizza healthy? It has tomatoes and dairy products and protein, right?”
At this point, the games are in full swing and this lady isn’t backing down.
“I will allow you a healthy snack. If you are so hungry that you fear for your own life, I will certainly give you a healthy snack. Here are your choices. You may have a dish of radishes, a can of garbanzo beans, some delicious kale, or a big brimming bowl of unflavored oatmeal. I would be happy to prepare any of the above for you,” I offer with the grin of the century on my face, knowing full well that this mom has just won today’s rendition of the hunger games.