March 23, 2011 Comments Off on decaf mocha
Now that O has discovered decaf mochas, she can’t drink them fast enough. We did homework at the local cafe yesterday afternoon, and our usual waitress came over and had her chat with the kids–how was spring break, what do you have for homework, etc. Then she took out her order pad, and O casually threw the decaf mocha bit at her. The waitress looked right at me and I shrugged. “Just make sure it’s actually decaf,” I said. Or I’m leaving her here for the afternoon.
K expressed mild concern at this new habit. “It’s like a gateway drug,” she said last night.
“Yeah, but it’s a gateway drug to coffee,” I said. “Which isn’t so much a drug as a religious sacrament for us. So it’s kind of sharing a family tradition.”
O doesn’t seem any more wired than usual. And track season starts Thursday, so she’ll have someplace to burn the extra calories and energy. But I do have visions of her ordering doppio espressos next spring in Rome and the Polizia hauling me away on child endangerment charges…
January 31, 2011 Comments Off on brush up your shakespeare
The girl texted me this afternoon while I was picking up C to say that she was fine, but tired, and could we cancel her riding lesson today? I said sure, particularly since there’s a fresh inch of snow on the ground, with a layer of ice underneath, and even I wasn’t keen to drive up north of town, terribly.
So we get home, and here she is, sitting in the Eames chair, reading. What, you might ask? Her latest project. My folks gave us their Yale Shakespeare collection last year, and we have it prominently displayed in the living room. Yesterday I saw Midsummer Night’s Dream sitting on the coffee table and was all ready to tell the kids not to mess around with it–valuable family heirloom, old books, yadda yadda. Then I noticed the bookmark. Oh. My. God. The girl is reading Shakespeare with no prodding from parents or teachers.
“I like Puck,” she said.
“Of course,” I told her. “Everyone likes Puck. Shakespeare’s a little tough to understand, but he’s worth the effort.”
“That’s what the footnotes are for, Dad.”
Righty-ho. But then, just as I’m getting set to download Stanford’s application for their Comp. Lit. program, she says, “Oh, by the way. My eye isn’t red because I’ve been crying. It’s red because I poked it with a Kleenex lotion tissue.”
The boy, meanwhile, weighed his backpack when he got home. “I have ELEVEN POUNDS of homework tonight.”
Even without riding, we’re saying the hell with it and going out tonight. Olde Main, where I can get a good slab of salmon. We’ll give the stove a rest.
January 30, 2011 Comments Off on amatriciana and movie night
We kept dinner simple tonight. O, having missed out on french toast for breakfast, demanded equal time. I had anticipated precisely such score-keeping behavior, and held back exactly half of the batter for just this request (I’m getting kind of good at this part of things). The boy and I did an amatriciana sauce with some whole wheat pasta. I had thought the change in noodles would be an issue, but he seemed fine with them, and we’ll probably do them again as they were tasty and marginally healthier.
Amatriciana is a really Roman sauce–simple, very quick, big flava. Fry up some pancetta, throw some onions into the fat, dump in some tomatoes and cook them down until everything is saucy. Twenty minutes if you do it right, and the result is onions, bacon, and tomatoes–and nothing else. Easy to make after spending an hour getting home on the notorious Roman bus system, and something we ate and made while over there.
The problem, of course, is that the boy doesn’t like bacon. I thought I could sneak it in, but as soon as I started frying it the gig was up and he was standing by the stove begging me to let him off the hook. It’s OK, I told him. You take the bacon out, fry up everything else, and then put the bacon back in. I’ll leave yours out, and put it on my plate instead. Everyone wins–no bacon for C, twice as much bacon for Dad. He was cool with that.
I made half a batch, a bit chagrined that we had a refrigerator full of pudding from this afternoon’s adventures. The problem with doing this, I’ve discovered, is that you forget you’re making half a batch at least once when you’re assembling the ingredients. In this case? Hot pepper flakes. The boy took a bite and said it was good but salty. I dove in and suggested maybe “spicy” was the word he was after. “Yeah,” he said. “This is more like Mexican pasta.”
“Oh,” said O, “speaking of that, can we have spaghetti tacos one night?”
“Spaghetti tacos,” I said, “where did you come up with that?”
“A Disney show we watch,” she said. “Doesn’t it sound good?”
“No,” I said, “but we’ll make them sometime.”
Calvin thought I should keep the spice level up the next time we make this, so we’ll make a note in the cookbook.
It was my night to pick for movie night tonight. Last week I got shafted because O’s pick on Thursday ran long (Seabiscuit, which I liked more than I thought I would). A couple of weeks ago, the kids both agreed on Osmosis Jones, which just might have been the worst movie I’d ever seen, about kids who take an accidental trip into their father’s (still living) body. “It’s awesome, Dad!” they told me. “We watched it in science class!” C said.
“You watched a Chris Rock movie in science?” I said. “This is a total rip off! It’s an old Isaac Asimov sci-fi story, and they made a really awesome film of it back in the 60s.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I’d seen it in science class back in fifth or sixth grade. Apparently science teachers of all generations say the hell with it every so often.
Anyway, they were game, and even though the special effects were 1966-cheesy and the physics behind the miniaturization was a bit questionable for C’s taste, the kids were both totally into it. It was longer than I remembered–two hours–so bedtime was a bit late, but it was worth it. “Our only hope is to find our way out along the optic nerve!” is going to become one of our trademark lines, we’ve decided. And the boy thought Raquel Welch was stunning, which was not entirely wrong.
January 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
Mom is an outstanding cook, and we were well fed as kids. She managed to keep two varsity track runners alive and heavily carbed through high school, and I’m not sure we ever had a box of storebought cookies in the house–they were always homemade. Not to mention fresh-baked bread and muffins. She also taught us enough kitchen skills to get through college in style, a lot of which are coming back.
So she sent me the recipe the other day for a dish my brother and I remember–fondly, believe it or not–as “glop on glop on glop.” It is as follows:
“rice on the bottom, then canned corn, then ground beef, then tomato sauce, then cheese on top.”
I’m not going to try this one on the kiddos just yet. But since I’m feeling slightly guilty about last night’s takeout dinner it’s comforting to know that apparently even Mom had evenings where she just said the hell with it.
(Hi, Mom…and thanks for the recipe!)