Listen up, girls, because I’m going to tell you one of the great kitchen secrets that my mother shared with me shortly before my wedding.
Scene: For one reason or another (most likely one reason and another, and another…), supper plans have slipped your mind. It’s only when you remember that you’re supposed to be teaching a kid or two to tell time and you ask one of them to read the clock that you suddenly realize Dad will be home any minute…and you have no idea what’s for supper.
Now, you’ve got a few options. Here’s one that I’ve tried in several variations, but don’t necessarily recommend: As soon as your husband walks in the door, fresh from the bread-earning cares of the day, thrust the fretful baby at him, incoherently weeping and gnashing your teeth about how there’s no way you can possibly accomplish all the tasks in your day, and how he’d better peel all those brats off you RIGHT NOW OR ELSE, and anyone who wants supper can jolly well make himself a PBJ.
You might have better luck with this one: turn on the stove, and slice an onion into a pan with some butter. In a matter of seconds, the house will smell purposefully wonderful. Dad will walk in, sniff the air, and declare appreciatively: “Smells great!” That’s your cue to say, “Mmm-hmm. Now if you could just take the kids [outside, to the basement, wherever] after you’ve changed, I’ll be able to finish up in here.” Dad, feeling useful, and anticipating a good meal in reward for his labors, will cheerfully whisk the young’uns away to such activities as only fathers can pull off enthusiastically. The kids will be thrilled to have Dad to themselves. And you get a peacefully empty kitchen…and a few minutes to run to Allrecipes or CSPP cooks to figure out what on earth to do with those onions.