Thursday, July 01, 2010

Believe Me, I'm Looking Forward to the Day When They Can REALLY Cook Dinner. Awesome!

So the girls and I have been working our way through the Beverly Cleary chapter books--you know, Ramona Quimby? What a dear memory she is for me! It's like meeting an old childhood friend all over again, only I've aged and she hasn't. I vividly recall entire chapters before I even read them aloud to the girls, that's how great an impression those characters made on me when I was a grade-schooler. I recall reading them myself, however, not having them read to me, so I know I was older than Julia is now (and of course Genevieve) when I first encountered Ramona and her family.

Anyway, the other day we read a chapter wherein Ramona and Beezus get in trouble with their parents for complaining about the dinner their mother has cooked (which, by the way, is TONGUE. Tongue, people! Because it is more economical than roast beef, and the Quimbys are a homey lower-middle to middle-class family (or, perhaps back in those days, just a typical middle-class family, unlike today when people who own in-ground pools and three cars call themselves "middle class") and money is tight. But seriously, tongue? Wouldn't YOU complain too?). The girls' punishment is having to cook the evening meal themselves the next night.

Julia was immediately enthralled with this idea, and decided that she and Genevieve should do this, too--not as a punishment, of course, but just for fun, because it sounded exciting. (Now keep in mind that Ramona and Beezus are, in this book, something like eight and fourteen years old, NOT just-turned-six and almost-four.)

We had a little talk about the age difference between the sisters in the book and the sisters in our house, and how she and Genevieve would not be allowed to use the stove, oven, microwave, or sharp knives. No problem! She would make something cold. How about lunch? I suggested (sandwiches, raw veggies, fruit?). Rejected. OK, dinner it is. Julia agreed that Tuesday night would be a good time to try out her new idea, since she would be cooking only for herself and Genevieve because Christopher and I have been hiring a sitter for an hour or so those evenings and going running together, feeding the girls first and ourselves later. I won't go into the fact that this arrangement also freed Christopher and me from the obligation of consuming a questionable dinner made by MERE BABIES.

So what did she and Genevieve make? Lettuce, tomato, mayo, and cheese wraps made with whole-wheat tortillas, fruit salad (banana, grapes, apple--needing help to cut the apple)--so far, so good--and, for "dessert," a piece of bread apiece, topped with strawberries, honey, and cinnamon. Which I guess is basically a jam sandwich.

So on Tuesday for dinner my daughters ate a sandwich wrap, fruit salad, and a jam sandwich for dinner. And a glass of milk.

A little carb-heavy, but better than tongue, for sure. And what's with that dessert? I offered a graham cracker instead of the bread, but it was a no go.


Rob Hardy said...

My mother cooked tongue quite often, and with the leftovers we had cold tongue sandwiches with mustard. Must have been one of the things she learned to cook as a home economics major in the 1950s. It's really not bad. But I haven't seen tongue in the grocery store for years.

The boys and I loved reading the Ramona books when they were little. There's a scene where Ramona tries to impress her kindergarten teacher with her napping skills and gets in trouble for snoring. That's one of my favorite scenes in English literature!:-)

Rob Hardy said...

Clarifications: When the boys were little, not when the books were little! And I meant American literature, not English. Or rather, I meant literature written in English. That scene is worthy of Jane Austen!

Mary S. said...

Ramona was a huge influence at our house as well, especially Ramona, the pest, which featured not only the snoring scene but Susan with the Boing, Boing Curls, a character equal to Lucy Steele from Jane Austen. Since one of my daughters has curly hair, we still refer to "boing, boing curls" when she gets a fat sausage curl in her hair. Ramona is so great. Wait until you get to the book with NO SMO KING, which is another favorite.

Mom/Nonna said...

Actually, until my mother confessed to what was on my sandwich, I really liked beef tongue. It basically just tastes like roast beef, and what neat, little oval pieces :) I eventually shared one of those sandwiches with my best friend who also thought it delicious until I told her what it was and she threw up on the cafeteria floor...