Fairly often, I’m asked what our family usually does for lunch. Here’s the run down of this past week:
Monday: Caleb (age 6) makes macaroni and cheese, from scratch. He needs only a little help from me.
Tuesday: Cadie made Chicken and Spaghetti for supper last night. I boil another three pounds of spaghetti for lunch, and stretch last nights sauce–slice up 4 onions, cook them in hot olive oil and a lot of pepper, put in the rest of last nights sauce, thin it out with a can of chopped tomatoes with roasted red peppers (Dad gets them from Giant) and a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, add a little more oregano and rosemary, chop up the remaining chicken and toss that in too. It was good.
Wednesday: I talk Justin into making tuna salad. We eat sandwiches on homemade bread fresh from the oven. (I made the dough Tuesday night, let it rise all night, put it into loaves first thing in the morning, and bake it shortly thereafter.)
Thursday: Collin made Cornflake Chicken and Mashed potatoes for supper last night. I stretch it into Chicken Gravy on Potatoes–I talk Owen, Caleb and Deirdre into peeling another 4 lbs. of potatoes. I boil them, and mash them into the leftover potatoes (with more butter and milk). The gravy is made by chopping up several cloves of garlic (5?), cooking them in a stick of melted butter, adding a fairly heaping 2/3 cup of flour, and cooking until the flour is browned. Then I added a can of condensed milk, two cans of concentrated chicken broth (Campbell’s), two cans of water, and a little rosemary. I chopped the remaining chicken into the gravy. Caleb also helped by stirring the gravy while I chopped chicken.
Friday: What I call a "coyote" day. We scrounge. Some have sandwiches, some have leftovers. Some don’t eat. First come, first served, and some people don’t wind up very satisfied.
Saturday: Oops! I accidentally defrosted too much ground beef when making supper last night. (I didn’t see that Mom and already pulled out two pounds for me, so I pulled out another two pounds.) Since the meat was already defrosted, we couldn’t put it back in the freezer. Evan (12) makes spaghetti and meat sauce (his specialty).
Sunday: Leftovers. A bunch of kids make themselves spaghetti pancake with the leftover spaghetti from last night. Some of us eat the leftover Sausage and Rice casserole from last night.
When I mention the types of things we make for lunch, the most common response is, "Oh, I’d use that as a supper!" Well, what would you do for lunch? 11 people aren’t going to consist off of thin air from breakfast till supper, and especially not when 7 of those 11 are either boys growing at a frightful rate or grown men. Justin (10, almost 11) and Owen (9) in particular seem to be on growth spurts of sorts. I think they’re trying to get taller than me before my next birthday, or something. They’re making good head-way.
For Deirdre’s birthday, we made ravioli. Well, we boiled store-bought ravioli. 12 pounds of it. Even while using our three-gallon pot and our 5 gallon pot, we didn’t have enough pots to boil it all at once. So Evan and I put our spaghetti strainer into our big bread bowl, and we poured the ravioli into that. Then we pulled the strainer out and dumped the ravioli into serving bowls and the hot water back into the pot for another batch. It was kind of a project. In the end, we didn’t have much in the way of leftovers, either.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to cook for only two people, or even just four. I imagine it would take a lot less time. Ever since I began cooking, it has always been for a crowd. Sometimes, I’ve cooked for other (smaller) families, when I know they’re having a tough time. I get a little panicky when I see how little food there is, certain there won’t be enough to feed everyone. More often than not, I get back a response that there was tons of food, and that they had plenty of leftovers. How peculiar.