Friday, January 8, 2010

Dinner Conversation

Dinner is always an interesting time for the family to get together and discuss what's on their minds. Parents gloss over the details of their workdays and children ask questions about things they're too young to know about; all while passing the gravy and stuffing the gullet. Well, at least I think this is how it goes at most houses throughout the country, however, our house doesn't quite work that way.

Just the other night, for example, I had made a big pot of Red Beans and Rice. I had Cajun fever, and I thought this would do the trick. Now, sure I knew the kids wouldn't eat any of this, and the truth is that I didn't really have a plan for them. Incidentally, I was also practicing some chicken thighs for my first BBQ competition coming up in April, and they came off the smoker about the same time as dinner. My plan was for the wife and I to have a few bites of the thighs (done in two different marinades) before we sat down to eat to see which ones we liked better.

Well, I hadn't communicated this to her, and before I knew it, a couple of chicken thighs were cut up and placed in front of my children for dinner. I should tell you that Jack does not tolerate spicy food, and because BBQ judges like their chicken sweet and hot, there was a healthy dose of cayenne pepper in both marinades. And despite Ella's repeated claims that she likes BBQ, she hasn't developed a taste for it, either.

So after about two bites, Ella declares that she is "all done", and Jack is dripping slobber like a leaky faucet and trying to wipe his tongue with his shirt. The wife is yelling for everyone to remain in their seats and eat their cornbread, and I'm trying to get Jack to drink some milk, and then the wife is wondering why I cooked this food that nobody could eat, and I am wondering why she doesn't understand my BBQ obsession, and the kids are crying as I scramble to cook them a hot dog on the fly.

Everyone settles down and there is a palpable tension in the air. Silence permeates the room. But, at least, we're all eating. One big unhappy family. And then Ella, rubbing her hands on her chest in little circles, utters one tiny word. "Boobs." Did she just say that? Again..."Boobs." "Ella's got two boobs." And Jack, oblivious with a mouthful of hot dog, says "What are you talking about, Ella?" And there we were, normal again, one big happy family, laughing and trying not to spit food on one another.

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