Grumpy dinner

Tonight I made a fabulous meal for my precious family. Anthony has started taking a maintenance med for his gout, so we’re trying to get a little red meat back on the menu. Jesse and I tend to be a little anemic without red meat. What can I say; cow calls to us.

I got a flank steak and cooked it in a style that should satisfy both my Korean and Anthony’s English heritages: I boiled it madly for two hours.

That’s where the cultural overlap ends. I shredded and seasoned the meat with sesame and red pepper flakes and garlic (I did a small separate batch for the kids, in which I replaced the red pepper with a little brown sugar and soy sauce). I reduced the broth a bit for flavor, and added some tofu and thin-sliced carrots and onions and garlic. I served it with rice and seaweed and home-made kimchi.

Am I the BOMB?



What could be more nutritious and delicious than this meal?

If you read my blog regularly, you know what’s coming next:

Nick was super hungry after school, so while that blessed meat was boiling away, he ate two full bagels loaded with cream cheese. He wasn’t even remotely hungry by the time we sat down to dinner.

But Anthony was in English-mother mode, grumpy about Nick never being able to sit still at meals and never eating what I cook. So he ordered Nick to the table and required him to eat some meat. Nick choked the first bite down and then required catsup. I think he also ate the tofu out of his soup. I considered the meal a success because he didn’t gag and vomit.

As the struggle to eat commenced, Anthony and I became weirdly irate about Nick’s inability to stay in his chair, so I grabbed my phone and set a timer for three minutes. Could Nick stay in his chair for three minutes??

No, we discovered. He could not.

Meanwhile, during our dinner battle with Nick, Jesse was sitting on the sofa refusing to come to the table. There was much whining associated with this problem.

“Jesse, can you please just come to the table and not make us ask again, so this doesn’t turn into another fight with you?”

Jesse put up a silent front, but eventually relented in the face of parental whining. She sat down, poured water on her rice, and quickly ate it with a fork. I did not know you could eat rice-in-water (a Korean comfort food, “muhl-bahp”) with a fork. I think we’ve discovered another one of Jesse’s odd talents.

Jesse eyed the meat suspiciously and ate a tiny bite. She picked the tofu out of her soup. And that was it.

As she ate, Nick (now departed from the kitchen) started wandering in with ziplock bags full of Christmas ornaments, which he placed all over our meal. Our settled plan (in my mind anyway) was to decorate the tree after dinner, but he was becoming impatient. We ordered him repeatedly to get out of the kitchen and take the ornaments with him, to no avail. He was frenetic; he just kept bringing those ornaments in.

Not long after her arrival at the dinner table, Jesse got up and left. I called her back.

“I made this special nutritious soup for you,” I wheedled, “to help you recover from all your sicknesses. It is full of good things to make you strong and healthy. Just pick up the bowl and slurp it.”

Gaaaaawd. I sounded just like my grandma and mom. I sounded like a crazy Korean lady pushing and pushing and pushing her totally amazing and to-die-for food on her kids. I rolled my eyes at myself, just as I used to roll them at my maternal forebears.

* * * * *

We survived dinner, mostly uneaten. We decorated the tree, and each child only broke one ornament. We had hot cocoa loaded with marshmallows and whipped cream. We washed dishes. The kids could not have cared less about my nutritious dinner. But my tummy and heart were happy after all.