Monday, January 21, 2013

Going nutty

Last week, my husband left for a weeklong business trip. This was not good news. At our house, mom and dad are already outnumbered by three teenagers. Take away the dad and next thing you know, the kids have staged a revolution and mom has been deposed.
Garbage day, dog duty, sibling skirmishes, unclogging toilets — when dad leaves, mom has to do it all, in addition to holding down a day job, doing laundry, checking homework, driving to 4-H meetings and cooking some kind of dinner each night.
Before he left, I made a special trip to the grocery store for provisions. I figured we needed a meal plan while he was gone or we’d be eating plain pasta every night for a week. God help me if we ran out of milk or bread.
The first couple days were pretty good. My meal plan was working. The laundry was under control and no one had run away from home. I even had enough time between dinner and homework patrol to help the girls make their lunches.
Our girls are notoriously picky about sandwiches. Most of the time, they refuse to pack a sandwich for lunch. I think salami tastes better with some bread wrapped around it, but hey, that’s just me.
In an “Aha!” moment, I dug out a sandwich cookie cutter I almost forgot I had. It cuts a circle shape out of the bread while simultaneously crimping down the edges, making a neat little sandwich package.
Using the crimper, I managed to debut a new kind of sandwich using bread and liberal amounts of Nutella. I’m not actually sure what Nutella is made of. I suspect chocolate, sugar, something that starts with “nut,” and even more chocolate and more sugar.
Whatever it is, my girls can’t seem to get enough of Nutella. If it were up to them, they’d smear Nutella on their morning toast, drink Nutella milkshakes for lunch and slather their vegetables in Nutella at dinner. One daughter even took a jar of Nutella with her on vacation. I know enough about Nutella to know that it’s probably not one of the four food groups. I usually hide the container in the back of the pantry. I don’t encourage the Nutella.
The Nutella sandwich was a hit.
When I got home, the girls told me how much they loved the new sandwich.
I made two more when I got home, said one daughter.
Wow, I said. Finally, sandwich success.
And then I looked at the loaf of bread. To my horror, it was almost gone. Between toast for breakfast and the now-famous Nutella sandwiches, three girls had eaten more than half a loaf in two days. We had three days of No-Dad left, and we were almost out of bread.
Don’t panic, I told myself. Think calmly. Breathe. And then I realized all was not lost.
There was a very simple solution to my problem, and she was lounging in front of me on the couch.
Here’s $5, I said to my oldest daughter. Go to the store and get us some bread. And you better get more Nutella while you’re at it.

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