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food for thought : me in my kitchen  
6pm, monday a personal essay |
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continued from page 2

"Chili?" No. "Stir-fry?" No. "Pasta?"

I groan in exasperation. "Pasta is not a dish, sweetie. Pasta primavera is a dish; spaghetti with meat sauce is a dish; farfalle with pesto is a dish. Pasta is just flour and water. Itís a vehicle, like rice. Pasta as a suggestion does not help my problem of NOT KNOWING WHAT TO MAKE FOR DINNER!"

Ash sighs; heís heard these rants before. Then he volunteers to take care of dinner tonight, asking me what Iím in the mood for. Whatever, I claim, so long as I donít have to make a decision. But when he suggests baked beans and franks, I shake my head no. Actually, Iím embarrassed to admit that I do like the combo, just not for tonight. By the time heís nearly run through his limited repertoire Ė grilled cheese? bean burritos? Ė heís beginning to get a little hungry himself and annoyed that Iím nixing all his ideas. I can tell, because heís getting curt, and Ash, unlike me, never gets pissy unless heís in need of food. When he was five years old, his kindergarten teacher called up his mom to express her concern because normally easygoing little Ash had just up and kicked her. His momís advice was simple: give the boy some crackers. So if I want to avoid a bruised shin, Iím obviously going to have to give at least one of his meal ideas a firm OK sometime soon.

Heís just threatened me with ramen, the one food he knows Iíll never eat for dinner (itís fine for a snack, but, call me crazy, I like my dinners to offer more nutrients than salt), when he gets another idea, sidles over to the fridge to peer in, then announces, "Scrambled eggs!"

"For dinner? EhÖ" I start to whine, just as heís broken 4 eggs in a big silver bowl. He ignores me, begins chopping an onion.

"Well I guess eggs are fine," I say with a dramatic sigh, then peer over his shoulder while he works on the pepper. "Oh, sweetie, you should cut that Ö"

"Get Ö!" he proclaims, as he puts down the knife and pushes me out of the kitchen and into the living room. "Iím cooking tonight!"

"But Ö"

Heís already back in the kitchen. I turn on the TV to distract me from the periodic clanging in the kitchen. Ten, fifteen minutes pass and just as Iím about to peek my head in to see how heís doing, Ash calls out, "Okay, dinnerís ready!"

I sit down at the table and scoop up a forkful of egg from my plate. Soft and moist, with melty cheddar to bind all the veggie together, heís spiced it all up with that delicious green jalapeno sauce, just a few drops for a hint of heat. Itís simple but Ö good. I take another bite, then another, and still another. And before I know it, Iíve scraped the plate clean.

"Yum," I declare. "Now why didnít I think of that?" o

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