Unchaperoned Meals

When I was young, my dad traveled on business trips regularly. My mom traveled less frequently, usually to Las Vegas to play some Black Jack or chat with the counterfeit characters lingering on the street corners about what they plan to do with their lives when they decide to climb out of their costumes in the dangerous heat. Ok, not really, but it’s a funny image thinking of my mom counseling strangers in Elmo-ish costumes. None the less, my mom DID travel…just not to Las Vegas. And everyone knows we played our Black Jack games at home.

These brief experiences with single parenting correlated with some culinary adventures.

When my dad was gone, tuna casserole was invariably made, complete with the potato chip topping. My dad HATED tuna casserole (or ‘hot dish’ if you prefer), so it was our opportunity to partake in this traditional midwestern delicacy.

When my mom was gone, we ventured into Spam and beans – previously only a camping cuisine. My dad and I quickly determined that Spam and beans tastes MUCH better 3 days or more into a backpacking trip and should be reserved only for those occasions.

When my husband travels, I venture boldly into child oriented meals. ‘Chick’n’ nuggets, macaroni & ‘cheese’, ‘vegan pigs’ in a blanket, plain noodles with margarine, grilled cheese sandwiches…you get the idea. We’ll also take the super lazy route of having cereal for dinner – enticingly called ‘Breakfast for Dinner! Yay!’ Last night, my children decided to make our evening meal. We had toaster waffles and ‘sausage.’ These meals aren’t particularly healthy, but I’m certain we’ll recover. We survived the tuna casserole and the Spam and beans after all.

What are your favorite culinary adventures when you are left unchaperoned?

6 thoughts on “Unchaperoned Meals

  1. From childhood to this day: Fried Spam sandwiches. Pickled herring or King Oscar double layer sardines in olive oil with baked beans and cold buttermilk.

  2. When my mom travelled, which was once or twice a year, my dad took me for Chinese food. He lived it and mom didn’t. It was fun! When dad travelled, it was business as usual!

  3. If mom was out (rare), Dad would take us to the Peppermill Restaurant in Corte Madera–fire on water fireplace and waitresses with long skirts is what I remember. If dad was out (also rare) it was standard dinner, or maybe McDonalds or Jack in the Box. My favorite meal if my parents went out was what we fondly referred to as “slop.” I’m pretty sure every family in the 70s had a version. Ours was ground beef over wide egg noodles with a sauce made from a can of tomato soup and a can of cheddar cheese soup. That was also mom’s go-to potluck meal. I loved it!

  4. We often created things in the blender! Milkshakes of all sorts! My very culinary mom also would cook up something dad was not a fan of when he would be away on Hunting trips! So fun! We love Breakfast for Dinner!

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