By Hallie Bandy, Motheroverboard
I’ll admit, I really hoped Rachel Ray had something with her 30-minute meal concept, but in all my years of motherhood, I have never managed to conquer a recipe in 30 minutes.
Don’t get me wrong—between Food Network and Pinterest, the motherly art of throwing a meal together has gone to a new level.
What I’m missing here is the healthy dose of reality. I mean, an obvious talent for simplifying meals without sacrificing taste is one thing, but what average Mom cooks in relative peace for even 5 minutes, never mind 30?
Have you ever seen Rachel trip over a toy and land face first in a puddle of chicken stock? Did you ever hear her ask, “Where is the baby,” only to have the camera cut to a darling toddler showering herself with cocoa powder and dancing in the resulting pile?
I used to count it a great achievement when I could get a salad together without having to extract Legos® or loose change from the oral cavity of a toddler.
Or how about refereeing an argument between boys while sautéing onions? By the time I ask the definitive question, “Did any part of your body or anything touching a part of your body come into contact with any part of his body or anything touching a part of his body?” The onions are black.
And don’t get me started on the dog. “Just what is he chewing this time? I don’t want to find out in three days! Stick your hand down his throat and pull it out.”
And what is it about the smell of dinner being prepared that causes kids to remember what they needed you to buy at the store. “Mom, did you get the batteries? The poster board? The gift for so-and-so’s party? And don’t forget, you’re in charge of snacks for 40 kids tomorrow!”
Which brings me to another dose of reality. Is Rachel really doing all that shopping? A well-stocked kitchen is a luxury with kids, especially when teenage boys are involved. And going to the grocery store without kids in tow is also a luxury – one that I never take for granted.
I well remember trying to find room for groceries with a car seat in the cart. And trying to keep track of what went in the cart when I wasn’t looking. And trying to keep track of my list. Oh, and trying to make a list!
I’m grateful these days I usually get to go to the store alone. Of course, the trade off is an overflowing cart with enough food to keep growing kids full.
And none of it gets done in 30 minutes.
Still, I’m grateful to enjoy a meal with my family, no matter how long it takes.