When the textbook tells me that dinner is supposed to be "on the table" when my husband gets home, what does that actually mean? Have you ever tried to do that? It's tricky.
I decided to give this concept a trial run at lunch today. I asked Rex what he wanted for lunch before he left for school this morning, and he said he wanted canned soup. I feel like eating canned meals is a little bit like cheating in this fifties project, but I already made homemade bread today so sorry, but I'm cheating with the soup.
I called Rex about ten minutes before he was due home and asked him what kind of soup he wanted. He said that he had an hour lunch break, so he would just decide what he wanted when he got home. "No!" I exclaimed, all concerned. "The book says it has to be on the table when you get here. How am I supposed to do that if you don't tell me what you want?! You have to choose!" Rex, clearly flustered, responded with, "Oh! Okay...ummm...I'll have..uhhh...chicken noodle?" Good. Chicken noodle it is. I hung up and got cooking. I'm sure there's probably something in one of my books about not freaking your husband out by forcing him to make snap decisions about soup, but I didn't get to that chapter yet.
Canned soup is the absolute easiest meal I can think of to cook. You dump the can into the pot, and then you heat it up. The end. But without knowing the exact minute at which your husband is going to get home, how can you make sure that it is served and hot when he arrives? He said he'd be home at "noon," but if I put the soup on the table at noon and then he didn't get home until 12:05, the soup would have cooled down and I'd have to heat it up again (therefore defeating the purpose of having it on the table for him when he arrived at home). If I heated up the soup but he got home at 11:55, then it wouldn't be ready, his drink wouldn't be poured, and the whole thing would be mayhem. Yet I can hardly demand that Rex get home exactly at noon. What to do?
I really don't know what fifties housewives did with this dilemma. I mean, they can't possibly have actually had the food, at the perfect temperature, on the table when their husbands got home. They must have had it warming or something, and then when their husbands get home they put it on the table while the man was getting changed out of his work clothes or something. I don't know. In the interests of following my books, though, I decided to try my hardest.
I stood by the front door and waited for the sound of the Suburban pulling in. I felt like an idiot, but that's what I did. Of course, I forgot that Rex didn't take the Suburban today but rather rode to school with his friend JB. Suddenly I heard footsteps coming up our stairs. Ahhhhhh! He was home and the food was still on the stove! FREAK OUT!
I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the soup bowl. Just as I started pouring the soup, Rex knocked on the door (I keep it locked when I'm home alone). This made our beagle start howling as if a serial killer was trying to get me. He started jumping on the door and scratching at it, which made Rex decide to knock again. Elvis started howling louder, as if to say "Lemme at him!" I was trying to get the soup poured and the bowl on the table, because obviously I couldn't let Rex in until the food was ready.
Dear textbooks, are you supposed to leave your husband confused in the cold while your dog howls at him so that the table can be fully ready when you finally let him in? Because I don't think I'm doing it right.
Finally I let Rex in, and his soup was on the table. Success! Maybe waiting in the cold just got him more ready for his warm soup. Also, he loved the homemade bread. He ate four slices - whoo hoo! My only issue now is that the recipe I had made five loaves of bread. What am I supposed to do with five loaves of bread?! You can come over and have some if you want, but please be sure to tell me EXACTLY when you're going to arrive so that I can have it ready on the table. Thanks.