Sunday, November 8, 2015

Don't freak out

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away (for reals, we're talking Cody, Wyoming in the '90s), the kids' dad was a kitchen manager/cook in a restaurant where I was a waitress.  Whenever he made something delicious, which, quite honestly, was all the time, he would strut out of the restaurant kitchen and proudly say, "Don't freak out about the soup (or whatever fabulous dish he had prepared)."  This was his way of letting us know that the batch of soup he made for the lunch rush was so damn good we'd all freak the hell out, and that, regardless of how amazing it tasted, we should not in fact, freak out.  Just think of it as a cute passive-aggressive way of proclaiming that his food was hella good.  And it was.

I was never a talented cook, in spite of Dave's many patient attempts to teach me his ways while we were together. I didn't enjoy it, I didn't want to learn, I didn't care if I never learned, and why would I?  I was married to a fucking cook!  I prepared enough decent meals to get us by, and every now and then Dave would whip up a concoction that reminded me that my place in the kitchen was to stay out of the damn kitchen.

Finally about a year and a half ago, after eons of just getting by, I began to teach myself.  What it boiled down to was, I wanted to have things at home that tasted as good as when we went out to eat.  It was a lofty goal, but sufficient for me to get my shit together enough to actually take pride in what I served to the kids.  Feeding the kids meals I was proud of made me think of Dave and his comment about freaking out, so one day I decided to tell them about what he used to say when he made delicious food.

As I served them a meal other than boxed macaroni and cheese, I said, "Don't freak out over dinner," and explained what that meant.  After the first bite or two, each of us bellowed some insanely loud, obnoxious noise; we freaked out.  Ever since then, whenever a savory meal is served (which is most of the time), we each take the opportunity to freak out in our own peculiar ways.  Our usually very quiet home all of a sudden erupts into a several-second cacophony of the loudest, most obnoxious, most deafeningly ridiculous sounds, regardless of who can hear us and what they must think.

So if you ever have the opportunity to witness such craziness, understand that you have peeked into one of many sacred rituals that has woven its way into this tight little pack of weirdos we call a family.  Not only is it our way of expressing our gratitude for delicious meals, it's our means of paying homage to the man who started it all.

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