The delivery of prepared or almost-prepared meals has become a big business where I live. That makes me happy. I’ve adopted a gluten-free diet for my irritable bowel syndrome and eat very little red meat, so I often find myself preparing two dinners: one for my “meat and potatoes” husband and another for me. Given that my limited daily energy is usually depleted by 4 p.m., I can be very grouchy by dinnertime.
I’d been eyeing one of these services for a while, but the cost was a deterrent. In a moment of weakness (both literally and figuratively), I succumbed to an introductory special — reasoning that buying myself some relief from cooking (and grocery shopping) was worth the money — even if I could only afford this luxury occasionally. As long as my husband was adequately fed, I could choose to prepare something for myself that required a little more effort than I would normally consider (if I felt energetic) — or eat an apple and cheese (if I were having a bad day). It sounded wonderfully freeing to me.
I called the company and got the details. From their online menu, my husband selected an entrée, potato dish, and vegetable side for each of the five days of the contract. Two dinners arrived in the first delivery. My husband chose the one he’d like to eat that day; the other was relegated to the back of the refrigerator. Each sealed package was marked with microwave instructions that even a non-cook like my husband could easily follow. That meant that my afternoon nap wouldn’t be shortened to tend to his gustatory needs — he could eat whenever he wanted — but I was too excited to sleep that afternoon. I was about to uncover the answer to my dreams.
Alas, it was not to be! Inside a worrisomely small container was a piece of beef, the size of which would barely satisfy a Chihuahua, next to three of the smallest boiled potatoes I’d ever seen (think large marbles) surrounded by three lonely green beans. Comparing that to the portions my husband usually ate, I retrieved the other suspiciously small box from the back of the refrigerator; it might take two expensive, pre-made dinners, but I was not cooking that night!
I was disappointed to realize that needing two dinners to fill him up put this already pricey option completely outside of our budget, but I was pleased to have one night off from cooking two meals. After scrambling some eggs to add to my reheated beans and greens, we sat down to eat.
My husband struggled to saw through the meat on his plate, while on the side, a small pile of chewed and rejected gristle accumulated. Stabbing those tiny potatoes was a skill he couldn’t quite master, as two remained on his plate when he declared he’d had enough. His stomach loudly growled as he inhaled both desserts. I realized then the extent of my mistake and that he was gracious with his claim of being satisfied.
Exhausted, 10 minutes later, I was back in the kitchen scrambling more eggs, making toast, and frying bacon. Pre-made meals are not the answer for us. Maybe I can interest him in cooking lessons instead?
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