It’s not what you think. We did not get to eat out this week.
Restaurant Night was my fancy, inspired name for a) not having to cook and b) keeping my kitchen clean, which is a near sacred endeavor for me on Thursdays, which is the day my housecleaner comes, and usually the day after I’m up late after teaching in San Francisco. The short story is that on Thursdays I’m tired and need a day off.
Generally speaking, I have a number of strategies for dealing with the not-cooking dilemma (which of course doesn’t mean not eating): take-out pizza or sushi, frozen tamales or crabcakes which involve minimal prep work, eggs, etc.
But this week we had a little bit around of a lot of different things, so I decided to give the kids what they never have: Choice.
I set an especially nice table, cloth placemats, napkins, nice glasses, and the good crystal candlesticks, which have been hanging around since the holidays, I wrote the menu on the board, and took their orders with a notepad. The only stipulation was that they had to choose one thing from each category. The Menu read:
Chez Nous: 1116 Lyons Street
Tamales w/salsa and guacamole
Eggs, any style
Fegatini (Italian chicken liver pate)
Candy Cane Sundaes
Kory’s Christmas Clusters
They both chose eggs in egg cups, but Finley ate the Miso too, and they both had the fegatini on fresh bread (which they really would eat for breakfast if I served it), broccoli and carrots. I know, I know, they eat a lot. They had very small candy cane sundaes for dessert (vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and broken candy canes on top).
The meal was an enormous hit. They both thought they were getting something special, I didn’t have to do anything but boil 2 pots, and they got some practice in making good choices about what they can eat.