If you've ever felt like a short order cook in your own home, I highly recommend reading through and implementing this recipe! You can skip the story and go right to the recipe (but it's a good story!)
My children have a habit of looking at what I've cooked and asking for something different (even if they were the ones who requested the original dish in the first place!) It is highly frustrating and I finally threw my hands up in the air and said, "YOU DO IT!"
It all started with a three bean salad. I bought the ingredients and prepared the salad when the girls were in bed. Then I let it marinate over night. At supper time, I pulled it out of the fridge and plopped it on the table for a rather early, informal supper (daddy was working that night).
My 6 year old daughter, Tasha, took one look at the salad and announced that "beans are yucky, I want the strawberry salad that Grandma Doris always makes." The week before she had loved beans *sigh*.
I lost it (not one of my prouder moments) and blurted out something to the effect that this was not Harry Potter's magic refrigerator and that if Tasha wanted Grandma Doris's strawberry salad she'd just have to make it herself!
Tasha said, "Ok."
99.9% of the time I would have just said, "eat your bean salad!" but daddy wasn't home and it was only 4:30. I thought, "what the heck... "
So, I said, "Ok."
Stunned silence. Then, "er, how do I make it mommy?"
To which I responded (rather enjoying myself not to mention my helping of bean salad), "I don't know, I guess you'll have to phone Grandma Doris."
Tasha called Grandma Doris on the phone and got the recipe. She complained that she'd never remember all the directions and I told her that I typically write them down. So, she put grandma on hold, got her pokemon journal out and bravely did her best to write down words like Romaine, Tablespoon and Balsamic. By this time I suspect that she was having fun too.
She started hunting for her ingredients. Green onions (got those), strawberries (some frozen whole ones will do), and so on.
"Mommy, where do we keep the cucumbers, liquid honey, poppy seeds and balsamic vinegar?"
I looked up from my pork chop, smiled and responded, "We don't have any."
"How am I going to make my salad, then!"
Oh yes, I'm loving this now! "I guess you'll have to go shopping."
With a hungry glance at her cold plate of bean salad, mashed potatoes and pork chops Tasha agreed that she will indeed need to go shopping. To be honest, I thought she'd have given up at that point, but she was on a roll.
I suggested she make a separate list of the items she would need just like the list I always had at the grocery store. So, she turned to another page in her journal and carefully rewrote the items she'd need.
Into the mini van and off to the grocery store we went. Tasha grabbed a little green basket and we marched into the store.
She managed to find a cucumber without any trouble (produce is always one of the first things you see when you get in the store).
"Mommy, where do they put the honey?"
"Don't know," I smiled, "there are signs over top of the aisles. We'll have to read them to find which aisle to look in."
Using the sign reading approach, we managed to locate the honey and the vinegar. But there were no signs that said poppy seeds *grin*.
"Mommy, this store is too big!! How will we ever find the poppy seeds?"
"I usually ask one of the stock clerks or at customer service when I can't find something, dear."
Nervous shuffle. This was going to take an immense amount of bravery. She timidly walked up to the customer service counter. Thank goodness it was fairly empty and there was a rather harmless-looking, grandmotherly type behind the counter.
Tasha mumbled something about poppy seeds and the lady looked up at me.
I smiled and explained that Tasha hadn't wanted bean salad so she was going to make her own kind but couldn't find the poppy seeds.
The lady laughed and indicated we'd have to look down Aisle 6.
This was better than Blue's Clues! Off we raced to find Aisle 6 (Tasha hadn't noticed the numbers before and thought that was a neat idea). We located the poppy seeds and made it to the checkout.
The cashier rung the order through and waited for payment.
Tasha looked at me and I looked at her.
"I have to pay?" she asked, rather concerned as she didn't have any money with her.
"That's typically how it works," I replied.
But I winked and handed her a few bills. She gave it to the cashier, collected her change, grabbed her grocery bag and it was back to the house.
We pushed a kitchen chair up to the sink and I sat down with a cup of coffee while Tasha washed the lettuce and onions. Then I showed her how to peel the cucumber with the peeler.
And then... I showed her how to chop up the ingredients with the sharp kitchen knife that she's never allowed to touch. She was shocked (and proud)!
At this point it was about 7:00 and daddy arrived home from work to find mommy drinking coffee and Tasha chopping green onions. When I explained what was going on, he thought we'd all gone bonkers... But he sat down to enjoy the show while he ate his pork chops, mashed potatoes and bean salad. (one note here... Watch really carefully when kids use the sharp kitchen knife... You don't want any thumbs in your salad).
We walked through what was a Tbsp and what was a tsp. We measured the honey and then measured it again because she lost track of how many Tbsp's she'd added.
And finally, 3 hours after we started supper... Tasha sat down to eat her reheated pork chop, mashed potatoes and STRAWBERRY SALAD!
"Mommy," she said between mouthfuls of food, "you do a lot of work."
I get a lot less requests right at supper time these days. And Tasha makes her salad whenever we have company. Including this Thanksgiving!