For dinner, I made a lovely quiche. I took my time rolling out the fresh piecrust dough. I was teaching my daughter how to drape it over the pan, press it down, and trim it with a sharp knife. Crimp and press, crimp and press. All the way around. She nodded in agreement. We were on a cooking show, you see, and she was explaining to the imaginary audience that I was making the most excellent dish.
I smiled as I whisked the bright, yellow, happy eggs. They came from our neighbor’s chickens down the street – one green, a few brown. All different shapes and sizes. I added roasted broccoli and milk and two different cheeses and slid it into the crust. An hour later, dinner would be served. Even raw it was beautiful. And later as I walked through the kitchen, I could smell the crisp forming on the sides, all golden and flaky and becoming the proud landlord of a cheesy, puffy center. My palate was screaming for a wedge of sharp cheddar and a glass of smooth Pinot Noir.
Soon, we would all sit around the kitchen table, laughing and eating tossed salad and remarking on how broccoli never tasted so good. “Why don’t we have this more often?” I imagined my daughter saying as she asked for seconds. In this pretend world things like “made from scratch” and “mamma’s doing all this for you, kiddos” matter. In my pretend world, children eat with grateful hearts, don’t whine or scrunch their noses up when they are lucky to have such food at their disposal. In a pretend world, quiche is most excellent. Like in my daughter’s cooking show.
Sadly, I don’t live in a pretend world.
The phrases that actually eclipsed my children’s mouths, once the plates of food were set before them, included, but were not limited to:
Why do we always have to have quiche?
It’s too hot.
Me no eggs, mama.
I’m not hungry.
Can I have applesauce?
Yeah, yeah. Applesauce!
I can’t pick out all this green stuff.
Did I mention I don’t like broccoli?
Can I watch my show now?
And the like.
Finally, I told my kids they could just starve to death for all I care. My son then threw his plate on the floor with gleeful gusto like I had just said something wonderful and the dog proceeded to inhale all the contents thereof. Did my canine appreciate the homemade crust, or the two kinds of cheeses? Did he notice the broccoli was roasted rather than steamed? Was he benefiting from the organic, free-range nature of it all? He eats his own poo, so I kinda doubt it.
Later that night my daughter said she was hungry. I told her there was always quiche. She just looked at me funny and instead asked for water.
My kids don’t realize how good their life is. How rich and beautiful and plentiful are their days. Someday we will go to Guatemala, or Malawi, Africa, or Haiti, and they’ll appreciate their lot in life a tiny bit more. They will hopefully become more thankful. More grateful. They will roll their eyes less and be excited about foods that do not contain the words “mac” or “jelly” or “nugget.”
“You really wouldn’t let us starve to death, would you mom?” my daughter asked before bed. The fact that she asked made me chuckle. “No, sweetie,” I said as I pulled her blond hair away from her face and scratched her back.
Little do they know they are getting eggs for breakfast.
That’ll show em.