All I did was bake a quiche.
But judging by my girls reactions, you’d think I’d made brunch for 20. That’s how shocked they were when I called them downstairs for breakfast on Sunday, at 12:25 p.m., I may add. How do they possibly sleep so late?
Susannah circled the table suspiciously. She seemed anxious and well, frankly, quite circumspect.
“What’s going on?” she asked. “Is something wrong, Mom?”
“No, why?” I said, pouring cups of coffee, oblivious to her concerns.
Without missing a beat, her sister Nell chimed in.
“Yeah, and what’s with the creepy music?” she asked, wrinkling her nose the way she does to exaggerate a point. I explained that Frank Sinatra is one of the greatest singers of all time, not Charlie Belle. (Sorry Charlie!)
Neither wanted to sit at the nicely set table either.
That’s when the nervous giggling began.
“Is this a trick?” Susannah said. “I’m scared.”
Nell agreed with her.
“Yeah, me too,” she said.
“I know, someone died,” Susannah said, misting a bit. “That’s what all of this is about. Someone died and Mom wants to tell us nicely so she made us quiche!”
“Who was it? But wait, before you tell us, next time can you make us pancakes? Nell suggested.
At first I thought they were joking, but I soon realized they were getting ready to cry. They figured something big and bad and terrible had to have happened in order for me to cook for them.
And you know what?
In a way, they were right.
Even though I’d taken a series of cooking classes over the years at the New School and I love to cook, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d made anything from scratch such as the crust of the quiche. Or maybe it was last winter’s chicken and dumplings?
Otherwise, I usually pass off things like jarred marinara sauce and boxed spaghetti noodles as dinner whereas before, I’d grow and can the tomatoes myself and not only make the sauce, but also the noodles.
Where had I gone wrong?
I blame it on their dad. I lost my culinary mojo after he passed away. I mean what am I going to do, spend hours in the kitchen preparing a beautiful Beef Wellington only to have my kids tell me how much they rightfully hate mushrooms? Or go to the trouble to grill vegetables to turn into my signature gazpacho when they are not fans of cold soup to begin with? Spinach soufflé girls? Yuck!
Still, the mother doth protest too much!
“What are you talking about? I cook for you all the time!” I said, almost believing myself. Only I was sticking up for my old self, not the new modern Mom who no longer set a beautiful table or did much more than boil water, microwave homemade mac and cheese and pour milk on their cereal.
“OK, you can count the rotten blueberry smoothie you tried to pass off on us yesterday!” Nell said, laughing.
“The blueberries were not rotten Nell. They were perfectly fine. I drank it and look, I’m still standing,” I told her, doing a little twirl around the table.
I guess what I meant was that I grocery shop all the time, but after that, it’s each woman for herself. That way, you can eat what you want, when you want and how you want. The three of us are on completely different schedules and each of us likes different things. Nell is all about vegetables. Susannah likes carbs and I do mostly protein. Put all three on a plate and there’s a lot of waste.
Still, I was enjoying this meal time together and imagined it happening on Sunday nights when we were typically all together anyway. That’s when the girls actually agreed and said we could take turns cooking.
“To Sunday night family dinners,” I toasted the girls with my cup of coffee.
Neither raised their cups– only their eyes– straight up to the ceiling, all the way into the back of their heads and around again.
How I love my eyeball rolling teenagers.