Friday, March 05, 2010

Why the grocery bills have yet to drop in the Curmudgeon house

"What would you like for dinner?" This is a question that Long Suffering Spouse frequently poses if we talk on the phone after her school day is over.

This is a question I never seem to answer correctly.

If I say, "I dunno, what have we got?" that's criticized as evasive.

I've tried, "Whatever you make is fine with me" -- which might seem sappy, I suppose, except it's true. Long Suffering Spouse is a fine cook. Nevertheless, this answer is also insufficient.

What might a good answer be? "I want roast beef, medium rare, darn it, and mashed potatoes and fresh green beans -- none of that frozen stuff. And the wine had better be properly chilled!"

Somehow, I don't think that would be well received either.

I employed the 'what have we got' gambit earlier this week when Long Suffering Spouse asked me about dinner. She sighed. "Well, I could make a ham casserole or tuna casserole or maybe Chinese food."

I suggested we could save the tuna for a Friday. (It is Lent, you know.)

"Well, then, ham casserole or Chinese food?" Somehow I don't think my wife's recipe for Chinese food is found in any book of Oriental cooking. It is, rather, Chinese food dumbed down for my picky palate: Chunks of beef, a smattering of carrots to make it look legit and, over in one section of the wok, some vegetables that my wife will actually eat. It's the preparation in the wok and the fact that it's served over rice that makes it "Chinese." All I know is that the meat from Costco that my wife uses for this dish is melt-in-your-mouth good.

Who knew?

Tempting as the Chinese food sounded, further questioning revealed that the ham was older and needed to be cooked soon. "Ham casserole sounds fine," I said.

"Are you sure? You sound like you want the Chinese." (I may have made yummy-noises thinking about the beef.) But I persuaded her that I was sincere in my willingness to eat the ham dish.

That conversational minefield safely traversed, we moved on to other things. I mentioned that Middle Son might be dropping by tonight. Since he's moved out, he's come back most Sundays, going to the late Mass at our parish and staying for dinner. He's brought his ironing a few times. I think Long Suffering Spouse was disappointed when he didn't bring ironing. She's "teaching" him how to iron properly.

This week Middle Son didn't make it on Sunday. He's putting in long hours in his new job, including mandatory Saturdays during Tax Season. He's also tried to maintain a typical 20-something social schedule. The combination means that by last Sunday evening, he was barely ambulatory -- and not interested in driving to our house... even if dinner would be served.

But, in those weeks when he hasn't made it home on Sunday, he's tried to come over some other night during the week. This was, apparently, going to be one of those nights.

"I don't know if ham casserole will be enough," Long Suffering Spouse said.

Our conversation ended soon after and I got busy doing some actual work -- so busy, in fact, that I didn't get home until about 7:30. Middle Son had been at home for awhile.

I greeted him and put down my briefcase, shed my coat, and went into the kitchen in search of ham casserole. I didn't see it at first because it was hidden by the wok.

The empty wok.

Obviously Long Suffering Spouse had decided that, if Middle Son was coming over, one entree would not suffice.

I started looking around for any chunks of melt-in-your-mouth beef... but found nothing.

Then I saw the ham casserole. Half of that was gone, too.

I ate dinner and visited with Middle Son -- he seems to be settling in nicely in his job and in his apartment. Figuring that his present location is not likely to last more than a year, Middle Son is continuing to use our address for a lot of his bills and other mail. When he left, he took a stack with him.

Long Suffering Spouse sighed as the front door closed behind him. "He looks good in a suit, don't you think?"

I agreed.

"But I think he's lost weight, don't you?" she asked.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why the grocery bills have yet to drop in the Curmudgeon home. I hope you weren't expected a rant about tomato prices?


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

sounds nice to me. all except for the part where he ate the beef. you should have asked "where's the beef?" but he's probably to young to get it anyway. ha ha

smiles, bee

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The grocery bills will continue on an upward tend, I think.

Debo Blue said...

Wait until he starts bringing friends with him to eat.

Obvious suggestion: make sure you get home early the nights you're expecting him.

74WIXYgrad said...

Just one more reason that the term "adult children" is not an oxymoron.