The special ingredient

So listen.  You all know that things get a little crazy in my house around dinner time.  It is the most chaotic time of day around these parts.  This is nothing new.  This week, my kids decided to kick things up a notch.  And sometimes when I am really hungry, I make questionable decisions.  This may have been one of those times.

The kids only had a half day of school earlier this week, so they were home in the afternoon with Jeff.  He was trying to open our pool that day, which turned out to be more complicated than usual because we had a large population of tadpoles who had taken up residence on the top of our pool cover.  The kids were beside themselves with the thought that the tadpoles would have to be sacrificed in order to get the winter pool cover off.  So my darling husband lovingly transferred all those slimy critters into an empty fish tank.  The kids, in turn, gleefully watched them and played with them for hours while Jeff did what he needed to do to open the pool.

I got home from work at 6:45 pm, and they were all outside.  Jeff was working away, and the kids raced up to me to tell me all about the tadpoles and their rescue mission, which included a trip to the pond later that week to let them loose.

I went into the kitchen and noticed that Jeff had started dinner.  He had water on the stove for pasta that was close to boiling, and he had made fresh pesto (yummy!).  There  was chicken all set to go on the grill, and various prep dishes at the ready.  I picked up where he had left off, put the pasta in the boiling water, heated up the grill for the chicken, and made a quick salad.  I was starving.  It always seems such a race to get dinner on the table after work, the first step in the frantic weeknight dance of dinner-homework-clean up-showers-bedtime.

I got everything made, table set, food plated up, called everyone to the table, and we sat down to eat.

After we said grace, Jeff looked down at his plate.
“So…what did you use to drain the pasta?” he asks me.
“Umm…the pasta strainer….”  I replied.
“The one that was in the sink?”
“Yes, since that is the only pasta strainer we own.  Why?  What is it?”
“Nothing.  Never mind.”
“What?  What is it??
“You don’t want to know.”

“Well, it’s just that the kids were using that to fish the tadpoles out of the pool and into the tank, and it was sitting in the sink because it needed to be washed out.”

We all looked down at our plates.  The beautiful bright green pesto was suddenly less appealing.   It was 7:15 pm.  I hadn’t eaten in about 7 hours.  I took a quick internal inventory.  I thought of all the times I had jumped into the lake at camp as a kid and accidentally swallowed a mouthful of water.  Or all those statistics out there that talk about how many bugs the average human accidentally swallows in their lifetime.   Also, the boiling water went into the pasta strainer before the pasta even touched it, so that’s almost like sterilizing it, right?

“I’m eating it”, I said.  Jeff looked a little surprised, but then shrugged and dug in.

“We don’t want to eat the tadpole pasta!!!”  the kids complained.

I put my fork down and looked at them.

“You are going to eat the tadpole pasta, because you are the reason we are having tadpole pasta.  First, you used my pasta strainer, the one I use to make food, to fish for tadpoles.  Then, you put that dirty strainer in the sink and you didn’t wash it out.  This is your fault.  You are going to eat it, and you are going to like it.  Now, pass the Romano cheese.

So we all ate it.  It tasted exactly the same as the pesto pasta we always make.  Turns out tadpole water residue doesn’t have a very strong flavor, especially with cheese on top.

After I was no longer in starvation mode, I started to wonder if maybe I shouldn’t have done that.  Maybe my low blood sugar had impaired my judgement.  Maybe our whole family would get Campylobacter, and then I would have to explain to my doctor how this happened.   That would be awkward.

But, I have to tell you, so far so good.  It has been about 4 days now and everyone seems just fine.  In fact, I think I may have totally reset my internal microbiome.  My intestinal flora feels like it is thriving like never before.  Maybe this will be the next holy grail of health food supplements and I can quit my job to sell tadpole water supplements, rich in Omega-3’s and antioxidants.  All natural and organic, with no GMO’s!

Moral of the story?  Pack a high-protein snack to eat on the way home from work, to avoid the extreme hunger that can lead to making poor decisions about food.  Also, don’t come to my house for dinner.

6 thoughts on “The special ingredient

  1. You so had sterilized the strainer with the boiling water! That’s my go-to excuse whenever in doubt. Reminds me of the time my mom told us about the caterpillar she’d found in the can of creamed corn AFTER we’d already finished the corn… We had been wondering why she wasn’t eating any of the corn.

    Liked by 1 person

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