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The Perfect Meal

searchDaughter held a plate in her hand and surveyed the spread of food on my kitchen counter. Boneless grilled chicken breasts, steamed broccoli, baked sweet potatoes, pasta salad, plain pasta, apple and pear wedges, whole mandarin oranges, sour dough rolls. “This is the perfect supper!” Daughter said.  Condiments littered the counter: honey mustard dressing, shredded Parmesan cheese, three kinds of mustard, honey, butter, mixed-up salt, and brown sugar. Certainly not a true southern Christmas dinner, but it’s what I served my seven Grands, ages 9 and younger, and their parents.

The perfect supper? I chuckled and nodded. “What?” Daughter said. Before I could respond, her three-year-old daughter got her attention by holding an empty paper plate and saying, “I’m hungry.” I was thinking that the perfect supper, or any perfect meal, is one that someone else prepares and serves. It was on the tip of my tongue to say, “As perfect as the sandwich you made for me one time.”

It was a hot summer day and I was mowing our yard with a push lawn mower. Daughter and Son were about 6 ½ and 5 years old, respectively, and played in the sand pile or rode their Hot Wheels and bicycles. The rule was that while I mowed, the children played outside where I could see them, but they couldn’t come close to the mower. My mind wandered, but I kept one eye on my children. They got my attention when they stood side-by-side and waved their arms high above their heads. I turned the mower off and motioned for them to come to me.

“We’re hungry!” they said. It was close to lunchtime, but I needed just a few more minutes to finish mowing. “Can we make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?” Daughter asked. The three of us went inside our house to the kitchen and gathered a loaf of bread, a jar peanut butter, a jar of grape jelly, table knives for spreading, and pitcher of lemonade. I went back outside to finish mowing.

Daughter and Son served the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with pride and I was thankful that they had made lunch. The outside picnic table was set with three paper plates and cups and white paper napkins. We talked and ate every bite of our sandwiches and then Daughter said, “Mom, that bread looked funny.”

“Funny?” I asked.

“Mostly on one side. It had some spots. Kinda’ gray and green. ” I must have looked surprised. “It’s okay. We put that part on the inside,” she said. “And we got some of it off,” Son added. The perfect lunch –peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made with moldy bread. Prepared and served by my young children.

Now, both Daughter and Son are good cooks and through the years, they’ve served many meals that I’ve enjoyed and appreciated. Spaghetti, grilled salmon, seafood gumbo, fried chicken salad. Delicious meals. But none more memorable than that peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch – the first meal they made for me.

A perfect meal. It’s not just about the food.





One Response

  1. Chuckle-Chuckle


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