I remember vividly, on any given rainy day, the best – most amazing comfort food (at least for Chubby) was a warm bowl of tomato soup, with rice floating inside, sometimes with a side of oyster crackers, and accompanied by a delectable golden grilled cheese sandwich, that when pulled apart released the most beautiful yellow cheese oozing between the two triangular pieces.
As far as cheese went, I never was a big fan of EATING it but I did enjoy looking at the holy Swiss and playing with the mushy triangles that came wrapped in foil and encased in a circular cardboard box. Yellow cheese was always available but really reserved for rainy day treats. Frozen pizza cheese was always freezer-burned and barely edible but sometimes and I mean on a rare occasion there were pizza bagels that had a SMALL section of cheese that was not completely ruined by the freezer and when heated up – gave the ittiest bit of stretch when plucked from its bagel. As a young teenager I became a fan of the mozzarella cheese sticks that were deep-fried and breaded then dipped in a rich tomato sauce as I gossiped with my friends about the latest lip glosses in silver city pink or how to color coordinate our goomies to our neon clothing, and how we could obtain more copies of River Phoenix’s centerfold poster from Teen Beat Magazine.
Fast-forward 30 years and here we are on a Saturday night and the kids want to eat, never mind that they’ve been stuffing their pie holes all day but the minute I mention bed-time – all the whining begins…but we’re sooo hungry!!! So I offer 2 items, eggs or cereal. Order #1 comes in with a sunny side up, order #2 comes in with a scrambled egg and a ‘please’ (hold still my beating heart). The other 3 start in that they don’t want anything I’ve suggested. That’s when my mother’s voice comes out of my own windpipe:” This is not a restaurant!”
I suggest a cheese omelet and my daughter looks at me as if I’ve just sprouted blueberries out of my head. I describe what it is and she is all: ” is the cheese gonna’ be melted? I answer, ” yes”. She tilts her head and asks, “but is it gonna’ be gooey”? I nod. She squints her eyes, “I mean like, really gooey”. My patience running out I say yes, and that she had 3 seconds to decide or there’d be nothing.
She agrees to taste it and then as soon as it hits the plate she starts laughing this deep gutteral laugh like she’s just won the jackpot. She squeals with delight about all the oozing going on and then the others come along begging for what she got. Gladly I crack 3 more eggs and open a new package of cheese. Easy to make and healthy to boot. The problem was getting them to eat it with as much gusto as they had pulling apart the egg to the see the gooey cheese stretch along the length of their plates, or as far as their arms could stretch apart until I got wind of what was going on. With another countdown, I threatened that if the omelets were not gone in the next 3 minutes I was taking the plates away and bedtime would come whether their tummies were grumbling or not, as it was it was nearing 9PM, way too late for these little people to continue their manipulations.
Well, they all became members of the clean plate club, another thing my mom used to say. Everyone all tucked away, cozy in their beds, I finally changed into pajamas, sat down to check my email when I heard the crying, then the whimpering, and then the worst noise a tired mom can hear. The sound of the gag- pre throw up belch. I ran as fast as I could, but not faster than the cheesy egg omelet on its way up. 2 blankets and 3 sets of pajamas later, things seem quiet.
Why cheese? Why? Why have you done this to me? What did I ever do to you? I cherished you and saved you for the most special rainy Sundays. I feel betrayed. I thought all my problems were solved and that I would have the gooey cheese factor as my back-up plan. Cheerios, my new best old friend, how have you been? I think we are going to be seeing a lot of more of each other in the near future…