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  • Melissa

Winner, Winner! Instant Dinner

Updated: Feb 20, 2022



So my coworkers are talking about dinner menus, and I'm trying really hard not to listen.

Now listen up, I'm as a good cook as any and have fork-tender steaks and meatzas and all that on my repertoire. But at one point I (finally) came to two conclusions.

A. My kids' mental stability (which is a direct reflection of mine, obviously) is more important than looking at nutritious suppers.

B. Because last I heard nutrition does not get absorbed through optic or olfactory nerves so the chicken and stuff, even if they're there, are not filling them.


The first thing my sweet coworkers-slash-cooks talk about is soup, and I'm nodding my head enthusiastically all the while thinking, you gotta be kidding.

For one thing, I serve soup when they come out of a container all ready (share your location, and if it's mine, I just might share which eateries boast the best of which soup).

Oh and chicken soup on pre- or post-Shabbos days.

Hey, and instant soups. Come to think of it, I'm really not that bad!

The theory that instant noodle soups are a load of garbage is a load of garbage, right?

It better be, because it's a staple in my home.


Well, protein.

Tuna. Excellent protein. Omega-rich, and of course I turn a blind eye to the mercury, because it's the same tuna even if it's in a casserole. My equation? Tuna + bread + tomato slices (on good days) = pasta + tuna + cooked veggies. Actually, mine is more wholesome. I bet you that it nutrients get lost in the oven.

And if it appears on the menu twice a week, do you know what that means? That my kids actually EAT twice a week. And sometimes even ask for seconds. (I said we don't concern ourselves with mercury. Shush.)


Other proteins are franks. Again, the myth about them being loaded up with nitrates and who knows what else is just that: a myth perpetuated by moms who want to feel superior with their organic dinners. I take no offense. And buns. Junk? Neh. Better than cookies, right?

(Which brings me to, sorry that I'm diverting, cake is the same as bread for breakfast, just a little sweeter, right? Same flour, same egg, same, same, same.)

And coleslaw. Real cabbage. I think it puts me straight onto the healthmom list.

Same goes to cold cuts. And you know what, I don't buy salami (three pats on my back) and with the pure cuts, well, can it get more wholesome than that?


My kids would feast on breaded fish sticks too, but I can't stand them, so I guess less mercury for my brood (yay).


Dinner in a dish

I love those that pack a full punch in one bowl, or er, plate.

Pizza. While I still have my soft spot for Bush (and Trump, but we are not going there), I'm thankful, so thankful, to the Obama administration. Oh how would I assuage my mother guilt if Michelle wouldn't have so kindly added tomato sauce to the vegetable category?

Sometimes I'm ambitious, and warm up the pizza on my very own. Sometimes it comes all ready with Uber Eats. Sometimes I actually put together the different elements, and my kids bask in their homemade treat (home-assembled counts, right?). And sometimes I am Mom of the Week and take the kids to eat it right at the pizzeria.

Always earning points when serving pizza for dinner.

And fancy that! I hear my coworker talking about her pizza dinner. I lean in, bright-eyed and bushy-taled, feeling so part of the "in" crowd. Until. Until she explains how she uses sourdough, spelt no less. Bye-bye. I'm out of here.


On some days (even I must put a disclaimer that this is not the routine — Mom's voice hounding me even here?) mostly on I-had-the-worst-therapy-session days, it's an All You Can Eat fridge bar. Fridge door swings wide open and everyone can choose to their hearts' content. Yogurts, cheeses, spreads. Cereal!! I even magnaminously fry sunny-side-ups upon request (ok, on such days it might need a good dose of nagging), slice open avocados, and slap together some grilled cheese sandwiches. Win. Win. Win.


And if dinner isn't sufficient? Well, we have a pantry full of cookies and snacks. The kids are super at home there. (A topic to tackle at another time.)


And if I look into my freezer pre-supermarket trip (my brood — lucky kids! — will get to choose whatever they want to eat at the deli counter), and I see three trays of frozen chicken sitting there, I know that I've accomplished my mission this week.


And I will repeat.

A. Saving my sanity and my kids' stability.

B. Getting kids to actually eat.

Beat that, coworkers!!





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