What’s for Dinner? No, Seriously…

There’s a special place in my heart for food; especially, as my efforts to lose my post-pregnancy weight can attest, for sweet foods. Really, though, I’m only picky about quality. Because of that and the number of children I sired, I make almost all of my own meals.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

Mmmmmmm.

After reading about Joanne’s making pancakes last week, I started thinking about what everyone makes for her/his meals. Another blogger I follow, Carol, prepares everything from homemade mustard to mincemeat pies. Gary, over in Great Britain somewhere, often laments the states of his cakes. Kat is a whiz at ratio baking. And, John the whimsical poet really likes bananas

Where am I going with this? To the kitchen, of course! Let’s say that it’s time to start the oven for dinner. Looks like I’m making tuna on toast tonight, a budget-friendly concoction of a white tuna sauce with peas served over broken-up bits of toasted bread. The rest of next week will be pizza, broccoli cheese soup, baked chicken with mashed potatoes and rolls, cottage pie, tempura vegetables over rice, hash browns and eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, chicken à la king…. This means I’m currently organized enough to have a meal plan, and that I’m an American of mostly-British descent.

I have go-to meals and favorites. Further, I have a full kitchen, seasonings and spices, food storage, and a stocked fridge. I know what to do with a whisk.

But, what about you? What are you planning tonight? Tomorrow? Next week? What are some of your favorite foods to make or have made? Have you all the latest appliances and gadgets? What about that whisk?

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

Hungry stomachs want to know…

—————-

Here’s about what I wrote/posted for the past week:

Wednesday, February 10: Re-blogged Gregory Joel‘s excellent observations of humanity.

Sunday, February 14: “Wherein Lies the Crime?” in response to Deb’s 42 Words prompt.

Monday, February 15: Shared a quote by Barack Obama.

Tuesday, February 16: Reminded you about Sue Vincent’s Fundraiser Writing Contest. The deadline is tomorrow so PLEASE ENTER!!!!!

I’ve given up on it, but there’s some old stuff on my motherhood site as well. There are even recipes for quick and easy dinners!

Also, I will be joining the illustrious, intelligent, immortal crew over at Carrot Ranch soon. The plan is to host a monthly poetry-writing prompt.

©2021 Chelsea Owens

Are Food Cravings Always Specific?

I’m currently pregnant. If you didn’t know that, you do now.

As such, I’ve gotten a lot of well-meaning questions like, “Have you had any funny cravings?” and, “D’ya know what you’re having?” These are often accompanied by a figurative elbow nudge and *wink-wink.*

The answer to both is, “NO!” -definitely so to the first, because I get very very very very very very very very very very (etc.) sick whilst pregnant. I haven’t had to get a feeding tube and I have amazing resistance to losing my lunch, but -Ugh.

When I do crave food, it’s more of an intense, five-minute demand for one very specific taste. Say… nachos from the Maverik gas station. Or, a croissant sandwich from the local deli. Or, pickle ice cream.

K, not really on the ice cream.

But all that is on par with when I am not pregnant -except for the being sick part. When I am hungry for dinner during normal times, I imagine the taste of something I had before. I want it precisely like that, down to the last rosemary leaf.

Which led me to wonder: does everyone crave food that way? When you want chocolate, is it a certain brand or flavor? Is it just chocolate? Does your taco have to be the one from that over-smiley dude on 5th? Can it be Taco Bell, instead?

Do tell. And, do share some of your favorites.

jason-leung-786402-unsplash.jpg

—————-

Grab some chips and check out what went down this past week:
Wednesday, June 12: Announced Baby #5 in “Really Big News of a Non-Writing Kind.”

Thursday, June 13: Tanka Tuesday. On a Thursday.

Friday, June 14: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Deb Whittam!

Saturday, June 15: Announced the 30th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is to pick a number and repeat it ad nauseam. PLEASE ENTER!

Also shared that I won second place in the Annual Bloggers Bash writing competition.

Sunday, June 16: “Many Hands Make Enlightened Work,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, June 17: An inspirational quote by Denzel Washington.

Tuesday, June 18: Nothing!

Wednesday, June 19: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Rainy Days and Mondays Don’t Have to Get you Down” and “A Pregnancy Poem.”

Photo Credit:
Jason Leung

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Five

Dinner at the Winters passed with less conversation than usual. Wil stirred her food in a small circle on her plate and tried not to look at the charred remains in the middle of their table. She had a more difficult time ignoring the smell.

Jakob had yet to comment. He didn’t need to; his loud crunch-chewing and various dramatic expressions of distaste sent a clear message.

“Thank you for making dinner, Wil,” Cynthia said into the silence. She smiled a hopeful, loving smile at her squirming daughter. Wil pictured her mother trying to think of what to say for the last five minutes. Or, she thought, Cynthia might have needed that time to be able to speak after consuming the more edible parts of the casserole.

Wil groaned and lay on her arms to the side of her plate. “I’m sorry; okay!” she said in a muffled voice.

She heard her father clear his throat. Cynthia must have nudged him. “It’s my fault, Mina.” *Cuh-hem* “I said I would come back to make dinner but didn’t.”

No, he didn’t. He’d attended to the car, a much more important task. Anyway, Indiana Winters hadn’t required assistance. She’d required a clean source of water. She’d required a stable campfire. She’d required tools for opening the tins of fish. Where she’d missed the offered assistance of the older, coughing man had been in operating the questionable baking device she’d uncovered. Winters should have heeded her past experience with relics of its sort. Instead, to her and her party’s tastebuds’ chagrin, she’d overestimated both time and temperature.

“You gotta eat it too, Mins,” Jakob offered after a hard swallow. He eyed her as he took a long drink of milk. He wasn’t the only one; both of their parents’ attentions also moved to their daughter.

Sighing with the effort, Wil extracted an arm from beneath her head and scrabbled for her fork. From the level of her plate, she bent her arm and wrist at an awkward angle to sample a small bite. She shuddered. Swallowed. She saw Jakob smirk, her father rub at his face, and her mother half-smile.

A tear wandered down Wil’s face, unnoticed and uncared for by her family. It was a tear of embarassment and of regret; but, most of all, it was a tear for the double injustice of eating not only burned food but eating seafood.

 

Continued from Ninety-Four.
Keep reading to Ninety-Six.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Four

Wil, Rob, and Jakob entered the usual silent dark of #42 more grimly than they did most Friday evenings. The zombie *hush-hush* of Cynthia’s nebulizer hummed a discordant duet with that of the rattling heating system.

Wil tiptoed to the couch in the light from the open front door. The door also welcomed a blast of chill air; Rob closed it and Jakob switched on the dim bulb over the range. All this outlined a slumbering Cynthia, complete with peaceful smile and slow rise of breathing. Her equipment, still on, lay nearby. Wil switched it off.

Wil!” Rob whisper-yelled. She looked up, blinking. He gestured to himself and she stumbled up and over to where he stood. “You start on dinner,” he continued whispering. “I’m going to change, then take over. Do you have homework?

Wil made a face.

All right. Do it while dinner’s cooking.” He stepped aside and pointed to a grocery bag on the counter, the very bag she’d acquired from her exploits earlier that evening…

Her father thumped past her as silently as he could in his work boots and headed down the hall. “Ooomph!” Wil exlaimed as Jakob followed suit; his aim had not been to travel around her. Not able to do more for lack of size and ability to noise complaints, she glared at her stepbrother. He threw her a final look of teasing humor before disappearing.

Wil turned to the plastic sack. She glanced round the dim room tomb as sifting, silent sand filtered down the cracks of peeking sunbeams. All seemed quiet, but Indiana Winters knew too well the peril of those who assumed no danger. With light-gloved touch, she moved the noisy sack-sides to retrieve its hidden treasures: a boxed meal and cans that claimed to be tuna.

She angled the box beneath the wavering electric light; she could make out pictures of pots and timers and a steaming pan at the end. “Well, well, well,” Winters said, her breath inches from the vague pictograms. “Etruscan influence, I’d say, with a smidgeon of Greek. Hmmm.” She moved her right hand to scratch beneath her favorite, battered fedora. “Now… what do they say to do first?”

Her nose near-touching the surface of print, she thought she recognized a symbol. It looked very like an object she’d encountered whilst searching. Round, shining, potable; it must be the same. She stooped with care, steel-tipped boots slipping on the polished tomb floor. With tongue gripped between set lips, she creaked open a small alcove.

She paused.

Nothing.

She searched left, right, up, down, and behind her crouched position.

Still nothing.

Reaching her free hand to within the dark depths, Winters brushed against a solid object. A solid, shiny object. She pulled it free. Eureka! She rose to standing height once more, holding her glinting prize in the half-light’s flickers.

Her exultant feeling cut short as she again glanced at the pictograms. Despite acquiring this first relic, her mission to discover The Secrets of Din might forever end there. “Where,” she whispered, “Am I to fill this with water?

 

Continued from Ninety-Three.
Keep reading to Ninety-Five.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

If You’re So Inclined

In celebration of an upcoming commercial holiday and to help inspire others to enter The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, I will write a love poem every day this week.

I also write today’s tale in response to Carrot Ranch‘s weekly writing prompt.*

A simple man, though good and kind
Went walking down the sidewalk line
And saw a simple womankind.
He thought, She looks, to me, quite fine.
Meanwhilst, she glanced in mirrored shrine;
Of café window, ‘neath a sign
And told herself she was quite pline;
Till, seeing, side and just behind
Our simple man, in quite the bind.
Then, from his cellphone, played a chime:
‘Twas evening of Day Valentine.
She smiled, asked, “Have you the time?”
He smiled, too; said, “Not yet nine.
“Would you,” he paused, “Want to be mine
“For supper, now it’s time to dine?”

jez-timms-157465-unsplash

 

*Carrot Ranch’s official rules:
February 7, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a sign. It can be a posted sign, a universal sign, a wonder. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by February 12, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form on the website.  Rules & Guidelines.

Photo Credit:
Jez Timms

Wilhelmina Winters, Sixty-Nine

Wil shuffled her grilled cheese sandwich in a circle of its own dark crumbs. The action piled even more bread bits on the plate, due to how long Jakob had overcooked it. All of the sandwiches were blacker than the family preferred, but they couldn’t afford to buy another meal in replacement.

“Next time, put your phone down,” Rob had said after finding the small kitchen full of stink and smoke. Wil had just walked in and started coughing in surprise. They all heard Cynthia echo the noise from her bedroom.

“Sorry,” Jakob had provided, thus ending another of their lengthy exchanges.

Wil had then been tasked with brushing the burnt parts into the garbage. She’d only dropped one of the sandwiches in, and had managed to retrieve it before anyone noticed. To be fair, she’d then placed that sandwich on her own plate.

Perhaps that was why she wasn’t interested in eating. Then again, maybe she was worried about her mother and Dr. Sullivan’s recommendations. Or, Wil might be tired after their long day.

Her lack of appetite certainly had nothing to do with a little exchange at the playground a half hour before dinner.

“Oh!” Wil exclaimed into the silence. Her family stared at her, all raised eyebrows and questioning expressions. “Erm… I remembered some homework I had.” She looked down, blushing. Wil couldn’t lie and they all knew it. She took a hasty bite of her sandwich to avoid further questions.

Jakob drained his glass of water and wiped a sleeve across his mouth. “Welp, I do have homework. ‘Night.” He cleared his place settings and rinsed them in the sink before stacking them on the counter. His pace was quicker than Wil usually saw him move as he headed down the hall to his room.

She swallowed her stale food. “He must have a lot to get done,” she observed. Her parents shared a look she didn’t understand, then turned away from each other smiling. “What?”

Her mother’s beautiful, loving eyes met Wil’s confused pair. “Oh, Wil. I love you.”

“Well, I love you, too, but that doesn’t explain why -” Wil’s thinking finally caught up with her speaking. The way Eric had looked at her in the dark had reminded her of something, and that something had been how Jakob had stared after Reagan as they were leaving the hospital. Two and two added to four in Wil’s mind; her brother was going to chat with her older school friend, just as she’d guessed before her hasty departure from the family car.

She saw her parents exchange another amused expression.

“But… that’s not homework, either!” she managed.

Her mother turned to Wil again. “‘Either,’ hmm? So, Wil, what were you lying about?”

 

Continued from Sixty-Eight.
Keep reading to Seventy.

Food on Your Family

20180418_132156-e1524082843326.jpg

There is a recall out for chopped Romaine lettuce.

Normally, I am unaffected by produce recalls because my lettuce was purchased thirty days ago and I am still telling myself that I’ll eat it. I can cut around all the brown spots, right? We’d hosted a family party Sunday, however, so I bought that huge package of Romaine hearts from Costco the day before.

As each heart was ripped out and discarded, I had the mental image of pulling cash from my wallet and throwing green bills away.

Which leads me to a common question I hear: how much does it cost to feed a family?

I have four boys. They’re young, and have always had modest appetites. My husband, who has never passed 150 lbs in his life, says he feels full after soup. Still, our food costs are going to be more than a young couple working full time or a small family of three.

Plus, kids grow. They eat more when they grow.

I lived with my younger brother when he was a teenager. I’m safely estimating that I’ll have that TIMES FOUR in a few, short years.

One perk to having children is that people will occasionally offer me free food. As in, Chelsea, I’m moving and am just throwing away all the food in my fridge. Do you want to come over and see if you can use any? Or, I’m going on a restrictive diet and left some pantry items on your porch. Give away what you don’t use.

It almost makes up for how much I spend otherwise. Actually -no, no it doesn’t.

Whenever I think I’ve got it bad, however, I think of larger families. We’ve hosted my husband’s sister’s family of eight children a handful of times. Don’t worry -we’ve returned the favor. But adding six people to ten is easier: just kill two chickens instead of the one and throw a bit more flour into the roll dough.

I may go into Costco to buy bread and come out with a new set of tires, but my weekly trips and expenses for food are about equal to my sister-in-law’s daily ones.

One of my favorite films to watch growing up was Yours, Mine, and Ours, with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball. Although it has many pertinent scenes, every time our relatives come stay I replay the grocery store part in my mind. In the film, the poor cashier enters the products manually. Tub after tub of oatmeal follows bags and bags of Wonder bread, AND they have two more shopping carts to go after all that. The cashier totals it all up; they spent $126.63 (the equivalent of $920.87, using online inflation calculators).

The North family really could have used a Costco.

We took our ten house guests to the world’s largest Costco last time they were here. My husband was at work, so we may have resembled members of a certain lifestyle involving two wives. Each adult manned a shopping cart and helped herd the dozen children roaming around us.

It was somewhat exciting to purchase 36 hot dogs, multiple loaves of bread, 5 lbs of cheese, and enormous bags of chips -and know that we would eat it all within the week. We filled the carts with food and diapers, plus children in time-out.

I felt overwhelmed projecting how much regular grocery bills must cost. And, as with any large organization (recalls aside), their family has waste. have waste, and feel that I do fairly well planning out meals and reusing leftovers.

I find myself mentally calculating what the cheapest take-out meals are (Chinese food, pizza, or chicken “on the bird” from Costco), least-expensive home meals are (bean soup, grilled cheese and tomato soup, pancakes), or how often we can visit relatives at mealtimes.

I mean, when the boys do hit puberty, I’m going to be in trouble. Donations? GoFundMe, maybe? Actually, taking a full-time job might be the best option.

I wonder if Costco is hiring.