(In)Convenience Foods

So this morning, anticipating a hectic day, I decided there'd be no easier supper than some Crock-Pot beef stew. I figured I'd just throw it together, let it cook all day, and then bam - I wouldn't have to lift a finger until I dished it into bowls, ready to eat, this evening.

After I dropped Colin off at school, I dragged Diana (that's my Crock-Pot's name, Diana*) out from her resting place, crammed amid a bunch of junk nestled into the cabinet.

*I'm just kidding, but now that you think about it, isn't Diana a great name for a Crock-Pot?

As soon as he heard the noise of me cooking something, Cameron came running. And though I clearly do not recall saying, "Hey Cameron, please come help" ... here he was, pushing a chair up to the counter to stand on.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not a fun mom. I'd rather do things in the kitchen myself and get them done - as quickly and neatly as possible - than have help from my boys. I do not find it adorable and stand by smiling lovingly while kids are covered with flour from head to toe and slopping ingredients into a bowl, like on TV commercials. I don't like to pick eggshells out of whatever I'm making, and I don't like gritty/sticky/slimy messes all over my counters/floors/walls. But because sometimes I let "mom guilt" get the best of me, and I think if I were a good mom, I'd let them help more often ... I consented to let my two-year-old offer his, um, "assistance" this morning.

I showed him how to peel a carrot; he tossed the peelings up in the air like confetti. I diced potatoes; he rummaged through the cabinets, and we had an exchange that went something like this ...

Cameron: "Let's put this in, Mommy!"
Me: "No buddy, that's cinnamon."
Cameron: "Let's put this in!"
Me: "No Cammie, that's vinegar."
Cameron: "Let's put this in!"
Me: "No Cammie, that's baking soda."
Cameron: "Let's put this in!"
Me: "Dude. NO. That's vanilla."

... And so forth. For like five minutes. Then he was all, "Look, a castle!" as he stacked things up ...

Yeah, I buy generic. You got a problem with it?

... and then knocked half the contents of the cabinet onto the floor.

In the meantime, the baby and the dog were getting into the lazy Susan and stringing out the onions and potatoes (side note: why the eff are those things called "lazy Susans" anyway?):

After the addition of the dish towel, a puppet, and a random carrot, my floor looked like this:

This, of course, was before they (Coby and Josie) decided to throw the onions down the stairs and play "fetch."

And while I was retrieving the onions/the baby and fishing onion peel out of the baby's mouth?

Shake, shake, shake went the salt shaker, as Cameron was helpfully salting the beef stew.

... Out of which I had to pick onion peel, an un-chopped carrot, and a spoon.

I finally finished everything up and put the lid on and set the Crock-Pot to cook on low for ten hours. If all goes well, dinner will be ready by six. Although it might taste like a salt lick.

I'd better have the Chinese takeout menu on standby, just in case. 


  1. Iodine deficiency is very real, darlin. Maybe your baby knows that. What if he's some sort of like, you know those dogs that can smell seizures? What if he's like that? What if he can smell iodine deficiencies? Woo. He's a super hero...

  2. I wasn't one of those fun moms either, the advantage is now I am one of those fun grandmas!

  3. hehe! I giggle because I let my kids help in the kitchen ONCE IN A WHILE and it's a hassle every time! I know that eventually, they'll get the hang of it, but I suspect that eventuality will come when they're like 30. sigh! Stick a washed, cut in half potato in the stew and it'll soak up any extra salt. :) Or, at least, it's supposed to! Then before serving, just discard the potato(or add to mashed potatoes later).

  4. This is why I don't have kids...my husband creates enough chaos in the kitchen to make up for a whole gaggle of children.
    But they say this is how you create long-lasting bonds and happy memories blah blah blah (OK, so I really did love cooking with my Mom...)

  5. I cooked all the family meals my mom could force me into as a teen. I hate cooking, so I let the boys take over the kitchen. We had some very strange dinners for a while. They got the hang of it and both of them are wonderful cooks. Jason makes all our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Have to stay out of his kitchen. He throws us out if we get in his way.

  6. As you may recall, I wasn't one of those fun moms in the kitchen, either! (Actually, I wasn't one of those fun, let's-do-crafts-together types, either, was I?) I didn't like being slowed down or cleaning up the resulting messes. In spite of your deficient mother, you kids all learned to cook well and don't seem particularly traumatized. They can help you drop cookie dough onto the cookie sheet or stir something occasionally. It's okay. You're still a darn good mom!

  7. Rita, this is HILARIOUS. You described that mom with an apron, saying come lets cook son PERFECTLY. Cannot wait to hear how the stew turned out!

  8. I so feel your pain, but put it like this, great blogging source ;)

  9. I love this post! I completely relate. I am not a good cook and I really don't like cleaning up messes. My 5 year old daughter has decided she wants to be the next Martha Stewart and wants to cook all the time. First of all, I question if she's mine and second, what happened to barbies and dolls? My kitchen, which I am not too familiar with, has become her playroom. UGH! I am trying learn with her, but sometimes I wish she just wanted to play barbies instead.
    Thanks for following our site! I love yours!

  10. Poor girl! But, you really can't go wrong with frozen pizza... Or, on second thought, maybe you can! You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen!
    Baby looks adorable!

  11. I'm the same way! I love my kids but I don't want them in the kitchen!

  12. Nice! I like the visuals. So, how did the stew turn out? :)

  13. I was JUST talking about our lazy susan the other day & commented on why is Susan getting the bad rap?! Poor susan.


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