June 30, 2018

table salt

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art."
-Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld

I don't know why I keep buying them.  Maybe it's the convenience factor combined with how good they look in their ready-made "just toss in the oven for a while and dinner is done" bags.

Each time we stop by the grocery store on the way up to the Lodge, I run in and get something for dinner the next night, and I conveniently forget about how dry and tasteless and nearly inedible the meat always, always turns out, and how fond they are of putting a pound of black pepper into the seasoning no matter what flavor it purports to be, and I grab a bag of beef or pork or chicken mixed with vegetables.  "Just toss in the oven and dinner is done."

The pork is particularly dry.  It's as dry as my mother's pork chops.  We would sit and politely saw them into bites with butter knives and chew.  It was the only meal where everyone asked for a second glass of iced tea.  We chewed the tasteless meat in thoughtful, laborious silence.  Pepper was never an issue.  The issue was the fact that my mother didn't believe in salt.

My dinner table is not my mother's dinner table.  Oh, no.  No.

There is salt.  There is conversation.

Last night, we chewed dry pork and beef cooked in a bag, while my son looked at memes on his phone.  This is as natural to him as breathing.

Me:  "Okay, next time you have to make me swear to not buy these bags.  You have to remind me in the car before I go inside.  They just look so good in the moment."

The Kid:  "Mine's not that bad.  But I can see what you mean about the pepper."

P.J.:  "I wouldn't say the meat is horribly dry.  I'd put it firmly between only slightly dry and sand.  It's right in the middle.  Oh my god, I can't believe you just did that!"

Me:  "iiii uuuhhhh?"

P.J.:  "Put that whole piece of pork in your mouth!"

Me:  "iiii uuunn aaa iiiig!"

P.J.:  *laughing hysterically*  "See?"

Me:  "uuuuhd uuuuub!"

P.J.:  *laughs harder, puts down fork and holds head in hands*

The Kid:  "Hey guys, want to hear a shower thought from Reddit?  Oh.  Why's P.J. laughing?"

Me:  "See ings I ut ooo ush foo im my mouf."

P.J.:  *gasping for breath*

Me:  *chewing furiously to end the moment of humiliation*

The Kid:  "Shower thought:  'Without bats, we wouldn't have tequila.'"

Me:  *swallow*  Where the hell did that come from?

P.J.:  *calms down*  Yeah, that makes sense.  But they'd be fruit bats, wouldn't they?"

The Kid:  "Yeah, because they pollinate agave, and you get tequila from agave."

Me:  "Wait, that's the second time this evening that fruit bats have come up.  Don't you think that's weird?  When we were quoting Holy Grail while ago?"

P.J.:  "So?  Fruit bats are important."

The Kid:  "Yeah!  Super important.  There needs to be more fruit bat awareness."

Me:  "There needs to be more 'y'all are too fucking weird for words' awareness.  Ooo!  Puffin!"

*points to desktop background of computer on kitchen counter*

P.J.:  "Nuffin."

Me:  "No.  Puffin."

P.J.:  "Nuffin."

The Kid and me:  "PUFFIN."

P.J.:  "NUFFIN!"

Me:  "Why the fuck are you saying that?  Stahhhhhp!"

P.J.:  "It's just that Simon Drew cartoon.  Jesus."

Me::  "Whahh?"

The Kid:  "He's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs."

Me:  "That's not a puffin, dumbass, that's a toucan."

The Kid:  "No, the toucan is Froot Loops.  The puffin is ... wait."

Me:  "Sorry, duh, it's a cuckoo bird.  The puffin is one of those weird-ass organic healthy cereals they put down by the Kashi twigs."

The Kid:  "Why does Kellogg's like to use birds so much?"

P.J.:  "They make good illustrations."

The Kid:  "They're grrrrrrrr --"

Me:  "THAT'S A GODDAMNED TIGER!"

The Kid:  "I know that."

Me:  "TIGERS AREN'T BIRDS."

The Kid:  *infuriating grin of one who knows how to push my buttons*


My as-yet-uncurbed tendency to buy and serve those meat bags doesn't qualify as eating intelligently, but eating together as a family does.  Studies and statistics tell us so.  I think I get a bonus with the kid and P.J. and our eternally weird conversations.  I get table salt.

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