Conversations with my wife: Diversity

In the car, my wife tells me about something she read online that has her very excited.

WIFE: There’s this company that will pay you $6,000 to eat just junk food for a month.

ME: Why are they doing that?

WIFE: They want you to eat just junk food and take their herbal supplement and see how you feel after a month. I guess their supplement is supposed to give you all the nutrition you need. I wanna do it!

ME: Is it just chips and candy?

WIFE: I’m sure you can eat fried food and burgers and stuff. It sounds great. We should both do it. Then we’d get $12,000. Just think, $12,000 for eating chicken wings and mozzarella sticks. It’s perfect.

Fire up the deep fryer! It’s greasy time!

ME: I don’t know that I could eat that kind of stuff for a solid month. Besides, I bet they want more diversity in their subjects.

WIFE: What are you taking about? A young, black woman – an old, white man. What could be more diverse than that?

ME: I was thinking more about environmental diversity, but since you put it that way, I guess they’d have to take us.

I hope their supplement doesn’t interact with my senility meds.

 

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Two good reasons why your pizza can’t be pepperoni

Buster (1st grade graduate) and Big Man (preschool graduate) were playing a video game together. From what I overheard, the game allows players to create and name their own pizzas to sell to the customers in the game. Big Man was designing the pizzas and Buster was helping him type the names of them into the iPad.

The first pizza was not at all controversial. Big Man decided to name it “Ham” and Buster typed the name. Everybody is happy, presumably even the virtual customers.

The second pizza was more problematic. Here’s what I overheard about this troublesome pie:

BUSTER: Okay, what do you want to name this pizza?

BIG MAN: Pepperoni.

BUSTER: You can’t name it pepperoni.

BIG MAN: Why not?

BUSTER: Two reasons.

BIG MAN: What?

BUSTER: First of all, it’s not pepperoni. And second of all, I don’t know how to spell pepperoni.

Sorry. Wrong pizza. We’ll just take that one back to the kitchen.

I think they ended up naming it “Apples”. I don’t know if it had apples on it, but Buster, after some mental strain, reached deep back into first grade and remembered he knew how to spell that.

Literally cooking on air, in the figurative sense

I dislike this frying pan.

It’s probably no worse than any of the Teflon pans we have in our kitchen. I hate it because it’s supposed to make Teflon seem like cookware from the Stone Age and it doesn’t. You may have seen it advertised on TV. It’s shilled by a guy with the most delightful British accent. The apex of his pitch is, “It’s lit’rally like cooking on air!”

People misusing the word literally, or even lit’rally, is a pet peeve of mine. Most often, people using the word literally at all is a pet peeve of mine. Yet I was so enticed by the idea of cooking my eggs on air, I let this one slide. Let that be a lesson to me.

I’ll tell you what this frying pan is lit’rally like, if you can forgive me for putting the disqualifying word like after the oft-abused literally.

It’s lit’rally like cooking with any other pan in your cupboard, except the instructions say not to use cooking spray, which makes it lit’rally like having your eggs stick to the bottom. This makes it lit’rally like cooking scrambled eggs instead of the omelet you intended.

It lit’rally makes you shout out words you’ve always been good about not saying in front of the children. (This is the only accurate use of the word lit’rally I’ve written today.)

We did not buy this from the TV commercial. We’ve never bought anything that way. These things end up in the “As Seen on TV” sections of stores, and then they go on sale, and even though nothing else “As Seen on TV” has ever worked like it did when seen on TV you think somehow this one might be the one that does. Because figuratively like cooking on air is, technologically speaking, the closest thing to literally cooking on air, right?

“And I’ve lost the receipt!”

I’m going to be honest and admit this is not the first time I’ve been made a sucker by a product As Seen on TV. There is a NuWave oven that’s been sitting in our closet for the better part of a decade, since the time it taught us to appreciate our regular old oven.

Sometimes infomercial products intrigue me. Air fryers are the latest device I wish I could believe. They are supposed to use hot air to cook chicken wings, onion rings, French fries, and all the other things God made it smelly and inconvenient to deep fry at home so humans might live past middle age. A crispy chicken wing cooked without oil would be the dawn of a new era of hope and joy for me. But I will not be bamboozled by my lofty dreams again. I believe it is Newton’s Fifth Law of Physics that states a warm breeze will never make chicken crispy.

No, I’ve finally learned my lesson. No air fryer for me, because that would be literally like getting ripped off for a hundred bucks, which is lit’rally like £78.

 

A simple (breakfast) plan

Saturday mornings I feed the boys breakfast. They all like bacon, and some of them like pancakes. Since there are no two foods they all like, this meal choice is the closest thing to a winner. A box of donuts has a greater chance of universal acceptance, but there are only about half of all Saturdays when I consider donuts a meal choice.

Bacon and pancakes are not difficult for a man to cook. They are a considerable challenge for a man and three overzealous helpers.

The electric griddle must be plugged in, and we’ve got a guy for that. Big Man, the self-appointed plugger inner and lighter upper of all things, will lodge a complaint with his union if anyone else attempts to push the cord into the griddle.

Bacon is first on the cooking surface, and everybody wants a part of that wonderment. Bacon is nothing less than a miracle. All the disciples need to be near it, nurturing it along its journey to delicious.  None recall how it spit grease at them last time – how could something so precious do a thing so uncouth? Daddy knows bacon’s dark side; the helpers are moved to pancake duty.

Forget the fireworks next July 4th. We're all going to enjoy the thrill of cracking eggs.

Forget the fireworks next July 4th. We’re all going to enjoy the thrill of cracking eggs.

Everybody wants to pour the pancake mix, but nobody knows when to stop pouring. I make them stand down and pour the mix myself, explaining I don’t want the whole box dumped out. It turns out the box is almost empty so I end up pouring it all into the bowl. “I could have done that,” Big Brother mocks. He’s right, so I quell my impulse to hit him over the head with the empty box.

The egg is the most coveted part of the entire pancaking process. I’m a remedial egg cracker. My wife bought me a special device to help me gain confidence. It was cheaper than a copy of Egg Cracking for Dummies. Everybody yearns to operate the egg cracker. It’s Big Brother’s turn. He cracks the egg flawlessly, but balks at the task of removing the slimy shell from the device.

My egg cracker for the specially challenged with Big Man's best Kilroy impression in the background.

My egg cracker for the Specially Challenged, with Big Man’s best Kilroy impression in the background.

Buster adds the milk as I hawk over him, shouting, “Stop, stop, stop!” after every few trickles, in constant fear he will let it all flow out into our bowl of pancake soup.

When Buster gets the proper amount of milk in the mix, or close enough, Big Man mounts his kitchen stool and stirs. I should be monitoring the bacon, but I’m busy keeping the bowl from sliding off the countertop.

Buster chides me for letting the bacon cook too long. I don’t believe it’s overcooked, but Buster is not completely confident in my ability to help him cook bacon.

We cook plain pancakes first. Then Big Man and I add blueberries. Big Brother doesn’t like blueberries. Buster only likes blueberries when they’re in a muffin I’ve been saving for myself.

Despite too many cooks in the kitchen, breakfast happened, but everybody lost their lust for helping when it came time to clean up.

The vast potential for growth in this job means he'll be able to see what he's mixing one day.

The vast potential for growth in this job means he’ll be able to see what he’s mixing one day.