• I love to cook
  • I do not in any way operate under the arcane belief that I am the man, she is the woman, therefore she must cook and have my dinner on the table when I get home.
  • From a purely practical standpoint, though Leslie has a full time job (in reality, more than full time) she does work from home which means no commuting. I have two to three hours of commuting everyday plus my nine hour work schedule. I'm effectively gone for twelve or more hours a day and usually don't get home before 7:00 PM. So it generally makes sense for her to do dinner. She is also a great cook.
  • This is not in any way intended as criticism. It's just the way it is.
  • Some of the things on the list are not favorites, especially of the kids. Under normal circumstances there may be a brave soul who will complain. Under normal circumstance. We're talking deadline here. We all know to tread lightly and stay under the radar...


So with input from the kids, here is the top ten list of dinners when mom is on a deadline (in no particular order).


  1. Hamburger Helper - I used to make this for the kids when they were little and Leslie was working evenings. They are now old enough to make it themselves. I generally used the microwave method. I only recently learned from the Hamburger Helper connoisseurs which they have obviously become that they prefer the stove-top method. Who knew?
  2. Pizza - Kid number 2 had a part-time job at Pizza Hut during which time we discovered that their Chicken Alfredo Pasta is pretty darn good so often it's pizza and pasta.
  3. Leftovers - pretty self-explanatory and the option most likely to be met with resistance from the trenches. Especially if it was something that was complained about when it wasn't a leftover.
  4. Grilled Cheese and Soup - Usually tomato. What's not to love?
  5. Chinese Food - Rarely objected to but does require a side trip to Subway, McDonalds, or another fast food establishment in order to accommodate the one kid who does not like Chinese.
  6. Leftover Buffet - Differs from ordinary left overs in variety and volume and that it also serves the additional function of emptying the refrigerator. Basically involves pulling containers from the fridge, opening them, asking "when did we have this?", performing a visual examination and nasal appraisal in order to determine eatability,  putting them on the counter and saying "have whatever you want in whatever combination appeals to you". Knock yourself out, good luck and via con Dios.
  7. Hot dogs with Mac & Cheese - Again, pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes we get really wild and break out the sauerkraut.
  8. Fast Food - I know. What can I say? This one actually isn't as easy as it sounds. Everyone has their preferences as to establishment as well as offerings within. Trying to get everyone to first make a decision AND have that decision involve only one stop at only one fast food restaurant is a true lesson in patience.
  9. Breakfast - I believe this one to be everyone's favorite. Not talking cereal here. Full out breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes...
  10. I have a day off and I cook - Usually something requested from my not terribly extensive repertoire or something new that I've been wanting to try out from my very extensive collection of recipes collected over the years. Doesn't happen nearly often enough.

So there you have it. A peek inside the glamorous life of the romance writer and her family. Now you know what's likely to be on the menu when Leslie's on a deadline and I pull the velvet cord to ask Jeeves what Cook has made for dinner. Bon appetit!


Alannah Lynne said...

That is too funny!! And so true of my family, as well.

When I was on the tight deadline, writing for the Kensington Brava Contest, my family was on their own most nights for dinner.

One evening, they ate Redhots (spicy hot dogs). They nuked them, sliced them long ways, then cut them in half and arranged them on hamburger buns (we didn't have hotdog buns).

I think every writer's family can relate to this. Especially the "flying under the radar part." LOL

Lori said...

Nodding. Sounds about like dinners in our house when hubby is responsible. Oh, he can BBQ, too. But if it has to be cooked inside? It's mac & cheese or hot dogs. Good thing teenage boys will eat anything *g*

Paula R said...

Bruce, if I had known what was on the menu, I would be at your house. I love the menu choices.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Leslie Kelly said...

I call "empty the refrigerator" our smorgasbord nights!

The kids get a kick out of piling-on leftover mashed potatoes & gravy beside the spaghetti and the fajitas!

JulieLeto said...

Wait? No pasta with butter night? My poor child lives off this stuff when I'm on a deadline.

Pasta, butter, olive oil and copious amounts of Parmesan cheese. If I have romaine in the house (which I usually do,) she might even get a Caesar salad with Newman's Own vinaigrette style Caesar dressing.

If I'm feeling fancy, after I boil the pasta and pour it out to drain, I add a cup of ricotta cheese to the pot, let it melt down, toss with a little butter, olive oil, salt & pepper...and it's Italian mac-and-cheese. (Not surprisingly, my daughter is having this for lunch at this moment.)

I also keep a jar of pesto in the fridge for just such emergencies.

Anonymous said...

You all are making me hungry. This stuff is also true for SAHM who frankly just get too busy and tired to cook. LOL.


Bruce said...

Well, the kids aren't little anymore and are old enough to fend for themselves so I doubt anybody'll starve.
The empty the fridge leftover night is one of my favorites. I feel like I'm at one of those all you can eat buffet places only without the sneeze guard.
Pasta with butter was certainly a staple when I was a kid. Julie do you remember Pastina? That was when I was little little.

Liza said...

I love empty the fridge of leftovers night. I'm single, so I don't always want the same thing 2 nights in a row. I too feel like I'm at an all you can eat buffet on that night.

I always have pesto and sun-dried tomato pesto in my fridge. Toss with some pasta for a fast meal any day of the week.

Malach the Merciless said...

Hambuger Helper, the best food ever, SUCKS in the microwave.

Bruce said...

I LOVE pasta with pesto. I do like to make up my own pesto fresh when I have the time to do it.

Mal, I actually like the stuff myself. And yes, it has been duly noted that it sucks in the microwave.

Leah Braemel said...

Hubby does pasta with pesto to perfection. And he's added quinoa to the menu -- very easy to cook. But he's vegetarian as is son #2, so son #1 and I are on our own when we want meat. And like your offspring, Bruce, mine are old enough to look after themselves, so they often resort to the old Mac and Cheese casserole (to which tuna is added at the end by son #1 for his and my portions.)

Bruce said...

Sounds like there are just a few similarities in our houses Leah. You introduced me to something new. I didn't know what quinoa was so I looked it up. Looks good, might have to give it a try.
Tell your hubby if we ever get to meet at a conference I have the first round.