Today’s “Cooking Calamity” post comes from a friend on ChristianWriters.com. I’ve read Sonya Contreras’ writing, and all I can say is, “Look out! Another exceptional author is making her way to the market!”
My boys eat anything that I cook. They tell me after every meal, “Thanks, Mom, that was good.” Sometimes, I wonder if I served dog food, would they notice? I think my husband might, but then, it reminds me of a time when…
I thawed frozen leftovers in a bag for the pigs. My husband grabbed his lunch out of the refrigerator. Later, he commented on how great it was. My sinking-gut feeling didn’t stop when I asked, “What did you eat?” since I knew his lunch still lay in the ‘frig. He’d eaten the slop for the pigs. The boys insist on telling visitors that I fed him pig slop. Most unfortunate for my husband is that I cannot ‘remake’ that lunch he so enjoyed.
At church potlucks, much goes to waste. I brought a big pan and asked for the scraps for our pigs. Later, I was appalled by the sign in front of my pan, “Save the scraps for Joey’s boys.”
For one son’s birthday dinner, he requested pig stomach. He invited people that I hadn’t met. “This was not the typical meal to serve to company,” I vainly persuaded. The visitors were gracious. We survived a possible catastrophe—with sowbelly requested for his next birthday.
My mother-in-law tells me, “You feed an army every day.” People ask me about our grocery bill. To give you an idea of what a family of ten with eight boys (three teenagers) consumes, let me illustrate. When asked for a snack, I tell them, “Eat a pickle.” They will, and a gallon jar disappears in a half hour. I buy 10 lbs. of apples; they’re gone before we drive home. A jar of jam and three loaves of bread make part of a lunch. Twenty ears of corn, two lbs. of spaghetti with sauce works for dinner.
Twelve gallons of milk drank in a week. In one month, we eat 100 lbs. of potatoes, 50 lbs. of flour, 25 lbs. of sugar, 10 lbs. of cheese, 5-10 dozen eggs and 8 lbs. of butter. We butchered two pigs, 220 lbs each. They didn’t last four months.
Someone asked me about leftovers. “What’s that?” Sometimes after a meal, the boys gaze at the empty dishes. “Don’t worry, Mom, we’ll eat cereal.” Have teenagers—will eat much. Have toddlers—will eat constantly. Have both–no food in the house. Now that is a catastrophe!
Mistakes in cooking? I make plenty in a big way. (Baking soda dumped in the bottom of a pan with a bit of water cooked over the stove will take off almost anything burnt on the pan.) Leftovers not so good? Chickens, dogs, and pigs enjoy mistakes.
Catastrophes? I think the biggest one is complaining when we have so much.
What’s for dinner? “Thanks, Mom, that was good.” Catastrophe avoided.
I am best known as the mother of eight boys and author of Christmas letters that actually are read and enjoyed. The boys keep me hopping with homeschooling (everything from reading and arithmetic to acting like gentlemen in a world without manners); baseball (one sport per year chosen for my sanity); their lawn and garden business; chores: gardening, chickens, horses, milk and beef cows, bees, dogs, cats, occasionally goats and pigs; and hobbies: taxidermy, fishing, hunting, showing chickens (all not my choice); and just household maintenance (cleaning occasionally).
My husband of twenty-three years reminds me of the reason we have chosen these things when my energy is low and sanity is gone. He tells me he loves me every day regardless of how little of my mind is left.
We enjoy our home, in spite of the lack of sanity, in the foothills of the Sequoias.
www.sonyacontreras.com for past Christmas letters, blog posts, and poems of encouragement.