When my son was in boot camp, the swarm of drill instructors assigned to his platoon, kept him and the other recruits busy. They were running from sunup to sun-down. In one of his few letters home, my son scribbled down a list of the foods that he couldn’t wait to have when he came home.
You could tell that he wrote the list with an empty stomach, listing foods off the top of his head. “Yea, I could go for cheesy fries right about now. Or a big juicy steak on the grill, No, no, no, I got it, a chocolate sundae with caramel and hot fudge and sprinkles throughout, and a big cherry on top.”
He wrote that he couldn’t wait to pig out on all of them. The list included everything from his grandmother’s amazing butter-soaked chicken, meatloaf, and greasy hamburgers to Tastycakes, Little Debbie Nutty Bars; and ice cream.
Like any good parent, my wife and I promptly went out to the grocery store and lined our kitchen cabinets with all his favorite foods before he came home. We were ready for inspection.
Most important, we wanted him to enjoy his time off after being stressed and on-the-go for such a long period of time.
A tempting challenge
As our luck would have it, he came home and ate very little of the junk food. Instead, he tended to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, a few energy bars, and most anything with high amounts of protein. Oh, he ate some of the foods on his list, but not as much as you might think, leaving the junk food to his brother and me. (Oh great, thanks, just what I need. I suspect he was trying to test my willpower, but that’s a story for another day.)
I seem to write frequently about food. Here’s a few other related blogs:
—Lobbying for the kid’s table: Kids have all the fun.
—The three things I’ve learned this week: My discovery that not all Peanut Butters are the same.
—Party of six, your table is ready: Name the five people, living or dead, who you’d invite to dinner.
In the weeks since my son came home and then left again, I’ve been thinking about the food I would ask for if I were in his shoes. Since I’m pretty sure that all five of the U.S. Armed Services would swallow me up whole and spit me out, I’ve been viewing it more as my first big meal after a long fast or a condemned prisoner’s last meal.
What would I request? Steak? Seafood? Deserts? The choices really are endless.
A condemned man’s last meal
The funny thing is that I would keep it pretty simple. I would start out with a glass of wine, something light and cheery, and go with my wife’s chicken croissant recipe. When we were a young married couple just starting out, my wife made it on a whim and it’s become a family favorite. We’ve celebrated birthdays and special events over a plate of her croissants. We’ve even used it to get past a few sad moments too. There’s not much to it, but it’s been our tried and true meal.
I would throw in my daughter’s roasted broccoli, a little bit of rice, and maybe an ear or two of corn on the cob, a nod to my rural, farmland roots. I would add in my wife and kids all seated around the table and it would be the perfect meal.
Of course, I’ll be craving chicken croissants and a big family dinner now for the next month, but that’s okay! Pass the plate. Fun times indeed.