It’s no secret that my boys eat me out of house and home. I’ve never been able to keep enough food in the house for them. This became apparent to me years ago, when James was about 7. I was chatting on the phone with the mother of his best friend, when she chanced to mention what she had fed the boys for dinner that night, which was odd, as James had busted through the door only minutes earlier asking what we were having for dinner because he, “was starving!” That’s when I realized that James had been eating dinner with them every evening and then coming home to eat dinner here. When I asked him why he was doing so, he patiently explained, “Because, Mom, that’s how I can have 2 dinners!”
For that and a few other reasons, I was excited this week when James got his very first job at an upscale pizza restaurant that happens to be one of my personal favorites. I’m sure I came across a little over-eager when he asked me to help him study for his first menu test, but it has been years since I’ve had an opportunity (read: been qualified) to help him with his homework. I fetched my glasses and curled up on the couch with his study materials and started quizzing away, silently priding myself that ‘I may not know Calculus or Trig, but I sure as Hell know my Hummus and Figs.’
That’s when I discovered that I had actually managed to raise an AP Scholar, who powers his brain by eating 24/7, constantly and non-stop, yet is, ironically, a complete Culinary Illiterate.
In all fairness, I understand that a mere boy of 18 would not know how to pronounce “Aioli” but he also could not pronounce, “Arugula” or “Gorgonzola.” He claims he is not familiar with any of those delicacies. I was particularly dismayed when we hit another snag at the “Texas Goat Cheese,” as it is one of my favorite items on their menu. James simply couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that anyone would bake cheese over Fig Preserves. He scripted it as, “Fig Preservatives.” When I corrected him, he asked what “preserves” even are (jelly!) and then, exasperatedly queried,
“What’s a *%!# ing Fig?”
I admit that in the interest of simplicity and convenience, I fed the boys at Little Caesers and Sonic, bought our jelly in those convenient little squeezy bottles, and opted to buy Oreos over Fig Newtons, but I had no idea the extent to which I had handicapped my own son. On a positive note, he breezed right through the “Buffalo Wings” “Meatball Sub” and “Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie,”descriptions, maintaining that those were foods that just “made sense” to him.
By 8 pm, I needed a glass of wine…
By 9 pm, I needed my jammies
By 10 pm, I had dissolved into tears and we had only covered appetizers, salads and desserts.
IF he passes the test tonight, we get to move on to the PIZZAS tomorrow. There’s no question we are in more familiar territory with pizza, but this restaurant takes pizza toppings way past pepperoni and mozzarella – they serve National Merit Pizzas. At this point, I’m really wishing I could just help him with his Calculus.