Think Captain Bligh had it rough? Try feeding four Guys. The usual drill goes something like this:
"Pears?" Josiah erupts as we sit down to the dinner table. "I hate pears!"
"Whatever happened to a simple, 'No thank you'?" I snap, out on a limb. Way out.
This follows Nathan's commentary on last night's dinner accompaniment. "Peaches? Yuck!"
"You know I don't like mashed potatoes," eldest son Daniel laments. Pointing out that French fries are close cousins to mashed potatoes--sort of--gets me as far as a snail in a molasses factory.
"Look," I explain for the millionth time, "I am NOT cooking five separate dinners. You guys either eat what's on the table, or you may be excused and can go hungry until breakfast."
They're out the door and halfway to China before the dust settles.
Our bedroom is located a few feet off the kitchen, near the pantry: "All the easier to snag 'em with," I muse to my husband, the Big Guy. Long experience has taught us what's sure to come.
Refusing my latest culinary magnum opus, our kindergartner to Clearasil-aged quartet will soon attempt a midnight raid on the kitchen. "All in good time, my pretties, all in good time."
So we're ready. The Big Guy and I snicker like frisky teenagers as we draw bicycle chain through fridge doors and click the lock shut.
"That'll teach them to eat what's on the table," the Big Guy observes, grinning like a Cheshire cat. I suspect he's having way too much fun outsmarting the kids.
"Midnight and all's well" I announce later from sentry duty at the fridge before returning to Better Homes and Gardens. The Big Guy nods smugly and returns to the toe-tapping tunes of Gregorian Chants: Greatest Hits. Which just shows you what we know. What four starving boys can accomplish with a hairpin and flashlights makes my head spin.
"So, what are your favorite foods?" I ask my Guys the next day, bracing myself. I know a mutiny when I'm up to my ears in one. I've got a four-alarm insurrection on my hands that makes Fletcher Christian look like a pansy.
Eager choruses of Guy suggestions assail me in response: "Lime Jell-O. Top Ramen. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly."
Be still my gourmet heart.
While we're on the subject of food and armed insurrections, whoever decided to wed linen and tablecloth in a house full of guys should be keel-hauled. Ditto formal silver service.
"Hey Mom," Nathan inquires--munch, crunch, chomp--"what're these little silver forklets for?" Wipe, snort, belch. Well. I see that all my instructions in Table Etiquette, Balanced Diets and Nutrition are reaping rich dividends.
For example, what do you think my Guys did to the Mango Broccoli Salad with cashews, red onion and mandarin slices served on chilled salad plates? That sweet little Salad Nicoise with the honey and Dijon dressing? Sugar Snap Peas with Orange-Ginger Butter? Apricot-Sauced Pork Medallions? And my attempt at serving Muffuletta? Just hearing the word was enough to send Nathan screaming from the room.
Get real. We're talking Guys here. As in, "If I can't eat it with my fingers, why bother?" Crunch, smunch, slobber.
"Okay," son Sam says today, sidling up to the stove. Sherlock Holmes olfactory skills primed to perfection, Sam sniffs Cheesy Pizza Mac. Forget the Spinach-Stuffed Sole with Lemon-Chive Sauce or the Citrus Shrimp with Penne. My latest culinary concoction is Pure Guy: ground beef, macaroni, cheese, pepperoni and enough pizza sauce to choke the daylights out of any nutritional value that might be skulking around incognito.
"I'll eat that," Sam nods amiably, "except for the macaroni, the cheese, the pepperoni and that red saucy stuff..."
Pitcairn Island never looked so good.