Chips on My Shoulder

My Oldest, age 16: (walks in eating potato chips) “Hey, since when do you hide potato chips from us?”

Me: “SHHHHH!”

Me: (whispering) “I don’t hide them. I just… store them… strategically. And please be quiet before the others hear you.”

My Oldest: “This from the guy who tells us to not keep secrets. Nice.”

Me: “Hey, now. I only hide them because you kids snarf them up immediately as soon as you know they’re in the house. It’s one of my only treats, so I like to have some stick around in the house longer than 10 minutes.”

My Oldest: “Whatever. You can hide all the BBQ chips you want, I just want the plain ones.”

Danger Monkey, age 10: (from the other room) “We have BBQ chips! Woo-hoo!”

Me: (glaring)

My Oldest: (batting eye lashes) “Love you, Daddy.” (walks away)

 

Omelet You In On Something

This morning I was running errands in town and had an hour to kill. It was morning time, I was downtown, I was hungry… I think you see where this is going.

In the easternmost basement of the Fountain Square Mall, there is a tiny cafe / convenience store / ice cream shop named Stefano’s Ice Cafe. As you can tell from my description, they have a lot going on in a small space.

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Usually, if a place tries to do too much, it means they don’t do any of it very well. In this case, you will be pleasantly surprised.

They have a big selection of coffees and fancy coffee drinks and it all looks really impressive. I’m not a coffee guy, so I can’t tell you anything about it except it looks legit. I just order iced coffee with cream and sugar because I want the caffeine but hate the taste of coffee. Their iced coffee is… fine.

I’ve had ice cream here, too, and it’s pretty good. I mean, it’s ice cream. Does anyone screw up ice cream? They don’t have a ton of options, but, hey… you get to put ice cream into your mouth. You’ll live through the disappointment of not getting Double Fudge Peanut Butter Cup Explosion, or whatever weird thing you’re looking for.

I can’t speak for their Lunch menu, but it sounds good and it seems pretty popular. They have many specials that rotate throughout the week. But if the other items are any indicator, I’m confident lunch is good.

This morning I had an omelet. He asked, “Do you want everything in that?” Yes. Yes, I do. I’m a giant viking. I always want everything in it.

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The amazing pile of mixed up, steaming beautifulness that got dropped off at my table was nothing short of glorious. It not only had “everything,” but everything was pretty high quality. The big chunks of bacon and sausage were hearty and plentiful throughout. The sausage was just a little spicy, the way God intended. The veggies were also plentiful and tasty. I saw red onion, green onion, green pepper, and a bit of tomato. I was a little surprised it didn’t include mushrooms, but I’m not complaining. It also had a good bit of yummy, gooey cheese. This omelet plus two pieces of hearty wheat toast made for a nice, complex, and delicious breakfast.

Viking approved.

Now He’s Cooking

I spent the evening helping the boy learn how to make lasagna. Not a fancy recipe. We used ground beef and sausage, a couple jars of marina sauce, and shredded our own cheeses. I opted for cottage cheese over ricotta because… well, because I’m cheap.

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Cooking the noodles was easy, and he did a great job of stirring together the cottage cheese, eggs, and freshly grated Parmesan. He even chopped up a little parsley. He integrated the layers as I scooped the various ingredients into the dish. He really enjoyed smoothing out the stuff with a spatula. He sang a song as he worked, describing what he was doing in his “spatula song.” I couldn’t help but enjoy his enthusiasm.

It’s fun to see things through your kid’s eyes sometimes. So much of daily life as an adult is repetition, rote movements that we walk through like robots. I’ve made lasagna a hundred times. For me, it’s just a functional activity. I only do it because it makes tasty food. For my son, each step was a totally new adventure, a tiny new piece of Life to be learned. He devoured it all, gleefully. He’s even already applying other cooking techniques that he learned previously. It’s a special treat to see it start to come together for him.

And, of course, he made some beautiful lasagna.

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I encourage everyone to cook with your kids. It’s a great together activity and they learn one of the most valuable life skills that exists. And, you get to enjoy cooking for a bit yourself.