M has recently had a "difference of opinion" with the authorities about maximum speed limit on a local highway. This has resulted in a month long time out to contemplate his offending behavior. Which means morning commutes to work with me and bumming rides home in the evenings with a friendly colleague.
They usually arrive here after 7pm, weary from traffic and the daily wear-and-tear of the office. And I rarely know beforehand when this friend will be coerced into staying for dinner.
On the surface this poses no problem-- I always cook an extra portion to eat for lunch the next day. I've come to like the guy, and am happy that he's offered to help out M in spite of my performance as Ms. Freakazoid America when I flashed him a few weeks ago.
But I'm always a little self-conscious about my cooking. Don't get me wrong, I put a lot of time and thought into our meals-- to call me nutritionally-obsessed would probably be an understatement. And although our family has come to appreciate my mostly vegetarian high-fiber, low-fat, low-sodium meals, I somehow doubt that they are completely palatable to the general public.
S and B are almost as vegetable-averse as their peers, but studies have shown that if you keep forcing veggies on kids that they eventually grow to like them, or at least tolerate them.
One amazing thing I've noticed is that visual cues really do make a difference. If I give them a dish with individual chunks of vegetables in it they'll gag and groan and act as if I've served them rat poison. But if I puree stews and soups they wolf it down and ask for more.
So Thursday was another rat-poison evening: Curried chick pea stew with tomatoes and spinach. Whipped out my hand mixer and blended the whole thing-- served it with fresh carrot bran bread and it was met with rave reviews.
then came the call: "Hi, it's M. We'll be there in 10 minutes-- do you have enough to feed H as well?"
Other evenings I've had at least some forewarning and have been able to make the meal more palatable for outsiders, but unfortunately it's just not possible to un-puree a stew. So I said "sure" but that H would have to eat at his own risk.
H brushed off the warning with "Oh, it can't be that bad-- what color is it?"
"Sort of vomit-colored"
Which was met with an embarrassed giggle.
He thought I was joking!
To his credit he did not run screaming from the table and actually cleaned his plate. Had to stifle a laugh, though, when I saw him pouring on the salt when he thought I wasn't looking. I'm thinking he probably scarfed down some spoonfuls of lard when he got back to his apartment.
And am left wondering: 1.) if he'll ever stay for dinner again and 2.) if he actually survived my carrot bran bread. I get the feeling it can be lethal for the uninitiated...