As you well know by now, I’ve got the plague. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. Goodness knows it’s evil enough to be the plague.

You also know my husband has gone *poof* to Palo Alto. I know, curse him for leaving me in my time of need all you want. Frankly, I’ve liked it. I could suffer in peace. Not have to add on the worry of keeping him awake or any of that stuff. So know I am OK with his going *poof*.

What I’m not OK with is his going *poof* and me coming down with the plague and the inevitable wrecking of some mighty fine menu planning and experimentation!

What’s that?

You see… I have a not so secret revelation. My husband is the pickiest eater on earth. No, I’m not kidding. I don’t want to hear about your kid who won’t eat vegetables. Seriously. I have people to back me up on this.

So here WAS my plan. Dump him at National (or if I could convince him – the Metro to National) on Sunday. On my way back into town (shuttup – this was last minute and unplanned and there was snow – Ox meet Mire) stop at the grocery store and buy one big freaking chicken. You know the one. The one for a small army. The one you might ALMOST think is a tiny turkey.

Then I was going to throw this holy hellbeast of a clucker into my oven and cook it away.

You see, he won’t eat chicken. Oh that’s not it, it’s more complex. Trust me. An dthat’s where the experiment comes in.

My goal was to see just how far one chicken would take us and how many unmeantionable and unholy (in hubby’s eyes) things we could do to this bird.

My plan that I knew for sure I could accomplish:

Meal 1: Mighty fine baked chicken with some fixings. Nom nom nom

And here’s where it gets dicey… at this point I have one large bird and only me and two boys and one chihuahua to feed. We’d take to deboning the sucker and the carcass would land itself in my new free pot from Bloom to broth itself up. Yes, I was planning to get the walkthru from my father in law for his DIVINE TURKEY NOODLE SOUP I steal every Thanksgiving and chicken-fying it. He said it would work and I had no doubts.

Meal 2: BBQ chicken! BBQ is another big no no. How do you not like BBQ? BBQ is the sweet mana sauce from Heaven?! This was a must

Meal 3: Aforementioned homemade chicken noodle soup.

Meal 4: Chicken n Dumplings. I will sometimes make this, but it’s got to be real long in between times. This happens to be my number 1 awesome meal of comfort. You take this, BBQ, and that awesome General Tso, and some Kung Pau and you have my top favourite meat meals. Heck my top favourite meals.

My question was… could I make it through these four meals? More importantly, could I get a fifth out of it. I have tons of cookbooks and people to rely on with loads of chicken experience. I figured this was going to be no problem. My week was going to have the boys and me getting ourselves a great chicken fix without any worries from hubby.

And then Saturday. Enter THE PLAGUE.

Curse the plague!!!!

So my weekend went something more like this:

Saturday night: AUGH I’m dying and praying to the porcelain god – he ain’t so friendly to me.

Sunday: I think I ate 3 crackers all day. My stomach was none to keen. My parents took hubby to the airport and a friend took the boys. Forget getting giant growth hormone stuffed chicken.

Monday: I am on death’s door, wondering where the nearest necromancer is and how much they would cost to bring me back from the dead. I do have an entire bookcase still to read – and a quilt to finish. No way can I leave this earth. Juan? Juan? Wanna come visit from South America?

I hate four or five crackers. My stomach argued. But I got it to shut up and that gave me the luxury of the greatest thing our time has ever created. Excedrin Migraine.

By 9 PM I was still feverish with sweaty chills but I felt like dancing. Surely I could eat! I ate a tiny tiny bowl of chicken noodle soup.

At 6 AM when I finally passed out to the hours long lullaby of my stomach’s disagreement I wondered what I’d ever done to deserve such a plague.

All I wanted was a week’s worth of chicken. Is that too much to ask? I mean really! You don’t understand what it is like to be so chicken deprived all the time!

The kids are back today. I’m feeling much better but my stomach is still arguing up a storm. I’m gonna tell it to stuff it and feed it some more chicken noodle soup and crackers. It better stop that off key lullaby junk, too. Forget that.

I don’t care what my kids eat. Right now if they want popsicles, sounds good to me. Lucky for them (ha really selfish – for me for times such as these!!!) they are pretty good in the kitchen!!

In fact, more often than not, Joram has been knocking me over to get his little tooshie into the kitchen to cook. You’ve seen my menu plans. One day, I was distracted trying to practice my keyboard. He said, “How about I put that in for you?” Um, OK!

One day last week we were planting seeds for our garden. I was helping Caramon wrap up and the next thing I know, here’s Joram:

Joram took it upon himself to grab our V8 corn chowder cartons and start cooking them on the stovetop!

I’ve taken to calling him my culinary genius. Hubby and I want our boys to know how to cook so they can survive. The way I see it is one day these boys will be 18/19 years old. They will want to go to college or go on missions or something. And I’m going to be at home stressing over if they are getting food or trying to subsist off PB&J and Top Raman. A mom can’t deal with that kind of stress. So hubby and I concocted this grand scheme. We will make sure these boys know how to cook a variety of things (even if they are simple) and then we know that they will 1. Not starve/have to subsist off the aforementioned Top Raman/PB&J diet and 2. Will get out of the grody chores by their starving roomates bowing to the fact they have someone to keep them fed! “You can cook? You betcha I can do the dishes, the trash, the bathrooms, and all the shopping! Please just don’t let me starve!!! It’s been 87 days of PB&J and I think I might die!!!”

Caramon is taking to it, but not like Joram. Joram might just grow up to be a chef. As well as a fireman, vet, dog rescuer, and whatever the heck else he’s come up with this week.

I’ll admit, a great many of their “down pat” meals are breakfast. What can I say? We are breakfast addicts. I know I’m not hiding this from anyone, and I freely admit it. Waffles? Yay! Eggs? Any kind! But, they also know how to make soup (from a can/carton mostly but they do also know how to make beef stew from scratch in a crock), macaroni and cheese, and some other things.

Including bread.

Well, sort of. I have a bread machine. They know it can make bread and they are literate. So in a pinch, I know they can figure out how to set it to make bread. I make almost no bread in there. It’s just a personal thing. I don’t like the way the crust comes out. So 99.9% of the time it gets set to dough. At that point I pull the bread out, split it, stick it in bread pans and let it rise. So that’s their bread knowledge outside of pop-it biscuit sorta things.

And cornbread. And what goes great with corn chowder? Cornbread! The next thing I knew Joram had my cornbread recipe (I got it from a good friend) and he mixed up my cornbread. He even handled the substitution for buttermilk (lemon juice and milk) with no problems.

See, he popped the two loaves into the oven. Wanna know what? Some of the best cornbread we’ve made!

So, when I say I don’t care what my kids eat, but I figure they are OK? It’s cause I’m not worried. They are 12 and 10. They know how to cook. I prefer to supervise them, but me laying down (awake! seriously they are cooking while I write this) and they are in the kitchen? Doesn’t bother me in the least!

Wednesday: Supposed to be the church’s Blue And Gold. I already RSVPed “I ain’t cooking and you want none of this plague house food anyway.” So the boys will once more be fed.

Thursday: Hopefully I am good. And I can at least get some chicken. otherwise the kids will fend and it’s more soup for me.

Friday: If I don’t get my danged BBQ chicken then I may just have to do some harm. By golly I will EAT my BBQ chicken this week. No plague will be the end of me without some honey BBQ slathered on some chicken. If I have to call Palo Alto and tell Stanford they gotta carry these meetings over another week, I don’t care!!!

After the plague… a girl should get SOME perk… right?

Forget Saturday and Sunday. Husband will be back and frankly my plague brain can’t think that far.

And for the record? My boys are eating AND they even made me chicken noodle soup. Am I lucky or what?

–Lady O

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