Monday, August 17 2020

snacking, sweet beef donuts, and what makes you mad

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another exciting late summer work week. As always, I hope you brought a hot cup of coffee, tea, or maybe even a Monster energy drink, if that's your thing.

I feel like I'm moving at half speed this morning - trying to overcome a belly full of beer and late night snacks. Still hungry after a botched dinner (more on that later), shortly after Rodney went to bed I found myself digging through the fridge for something to eat. We couldn't get a pickup time slot at Woodman's over the weekend, so as a result, our fridge and pantry was just about picked over. But I discovered a single forgotten Tupperware container in the back up the fridge that held unimaginable treasure.

"Oh, thank God," I uttered, pulling off the lid. It was leftover filling from the jalapeno poppers I tried earlier that week. Cream cheese, cheddar, chopped crispy bacon, leeks, and ricotta.

"Would you eat some of this with me?" I asked, swinging the container in front of Marissa.

"Oof, is that still good?" she asked. Without a word, I held some out to her at the end of a fork. The thoughtfully chewed the mush, then her eyes bulged with wonder.

"Yep, I knew that would be a no brainer," I laughed.

After a six minute spin in the microwave, somehow a bag of stale taco chips, a sliced tomato, and a slice up jalapeno made their way to the party. I stirred the final gooey slurry together and topped it with more cheese. We were so excited to start digging in, we didn't even sit down.

"In this moment," I huffed, cheeks filled with chips and cheese, "I am so happy."

"I can't even hear you," said Marissa. "All I can do is just stand here and eat this."

Our forks hit the bottom of the container, and soon the snacking high subsided. I was short for breath, like I had just finished running a mile.

"So we were still hungry. Sorry about dinner, by the way," I said. Marissa cracked a smile.

"What happened?" she asked.

"I think it was an OK idea in theory," I said. "Saucijzenbroodjes - that's something we've done plenty of times. But we didn't have a lot to pick from in terms of sides." Marissa nodded.

"We had just a few slices of bell peppers, so I figured we could roast those" I continued. "And crispy potatoes. But my mistake was that all three pretty much needed full attention in the oven at the same time."

"Ah..." laughed Marissa. "Is that why the saucijzenbroodjes looked so..."

"Ghostly white? Pale? Like they had never seen the light of day?" I said, finishing her thought. Marissa snorted back a chuckle.

"Are you saying the saucijzenbroodjes looked like smeogal emerging from his cave to find the precious?" I continued, acting offended. "Wait - you mean to tell them that you don't want them baked in the balmy shade of another pan? You don't want them medium rare."

"They were just a lil' pink in the middle," said Marissa, choking back tears of laughter.

"I thought they would go great with crispy potatoes," I interrupted. "Not crispy on the outside - crispy on the inside, like apples."

"Ugh, the potatoes... were a struggle," she laughed.

"They're my special recipe," I laughed. "First you bake them for thirty minutes, then you broil them for thirty minutes, then you bake them again for thirty minutes, then you microwave them on high for five minutes while you question your life's decisions."

Marissa was doubled over laughing.

"Oh and did we cover the appetizer?" I laughed. "How I decided to tickle the appetite with donuts?"

"That was interesting, and confusing," she replied.

While standing around waiting for all three things to finish in the oven, I decided to finish a bottle of grape seed oil, using it to fry the trimmings of puff pastry. I rolled the little donuts in sugar.

"Random donuts," I said, setting them on the table. Rodney quickly ate one, then in a panic found a seat at the table where he could closely monitor them.

"Dada," he said politely. "I have another donut?"

"Sure, dude." I replied. "You know what, just finish the bowl." Rodney looked at me in disbelief.

"Do you like how some of them had a little ground beef stuck to them, but I rolled it all in sugar anyway?" I chuckled.

"Sweet beef?" Marissa muttered to herself.

"SWEET BEEF!" I repeated. "Come and eat some of father's sweet beef donuts." If I had known that the silly little appetizer would have been the highlight of the meal, I would have made a double batch.

sweet beef donuts

Rodney will someday tell people his favorite food is "Sweet Beef Donuts"

As we picked at our dinner - sad looking saucijzenbroodjes and lumpy melted potatoes, we chatted about the weekend. Unexpectedly, Rodney started to make his way around the table with an uncharacteristically thoughtful question.

"Momma," said Rodney. "What makes you mad?"

"What makes me mad?" said Marissa. "Good question dude. I'm going to have to go with... the really loud cars and motorcycles that drive by our house at night."

"Dude, they're the worst," I added. "VROOOOOOOOOOM BRAHHHHH BRAH BRAHHHHHH."

After a moment of exchanging homemade motorcycle sound effects, Rodney moved on. "Dada," he said. "What makes you made?"

"Lots of things, dude," I quickly replied. "Like... when I try to cook something that doesn't work. Or when our computers break and I don't know how to fix them."

"Baby Miles, what makes you made?" said Rodney, turning towards Miles. Steering the conversation into the realm of make-believe, I answered in a squeaky voice on Miles' behalf.

"Prolly... when I have farts that won't come out," I replied.

"Hey KRANG," said Rodney. "What makes you mad?"

I struggled to change pitch from my baby voice to my KRANG voice. "PROBABLY... WHEN I'M FED AN IMPROPER RATIO OF FLOUR AND WATER." Marissa made a puzzled face.

"What?" I said, aside. "He's bread starter - what else would he have to worry about in life?"

"This was a great conversation, Rodney," said Marissa. "Thanks for starting such a great discussion."

"Yeah dude," I echoed. "It's always good to talk about feelings."

After dinner we filed into the dining room. I worked on the roller coaster while Rodney watched TV. Marissa took a seat beside me. "Hey, can I help?" she asked.

Rodney sprang from his seat on the couch. "I HELP TOO," he yelled.

The three of us hit the job site, studying the instructions, assembling four more segments of track. We moved even more quickly as a team.

"Thanks for the help, guys" I said. "It goes a lot faster as a group. Look, we're almost done!"

coaster progress

Progress (and fun) at the job site.

After putting Rodney to bed, we discussed the night while putting toys away. "I really liked building that," said Marissa.

"That was the most interested he's ever been in building something," I said. "I think the second we both do something, he's afraid of missing out and wants to do it with us."

"That must be why he gets so into doing push-ups and sit-ups at night," remarked Marissa.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful day today.