Now my sons would immediately think that I'm calling out to Mario, their favorite video game guy. I wish they could be as dedicated to their studies as they are to zooming around the Wii racecourse playing Mario Kart. Anyway, my Mario hangs out in the kitchen.
Over my toaster oven, there is a caricature-type picture of a chef preparing a pizza. With a self-satisfied smirk on his face, this chef proudly wears a very long, twirly mustache. Once my kids saw the picture, they all agreed that he should be named, "Mario, the Pizza Guy". Being of Italian descent, my husband immediately tried to put on an Italian accent to give Mario a personality to entertain the kids. After what seemed like a very long 2 minute impersonation, my husband retired from the kitchen and seemed to forget all about Mario. The kids also moved on to probably something with flashing lights and buttons. Mario officially became part of Mommy's world in the kitchen.
The kitchen has definitely become my hangout. Besides making meals and getting snacks, I also get my paperwork done at the kitchen table. That's a good place to look if you need to find me during the day. I probably see Mario more often than my husband on a typical week day. Now I know that I'm chained to the kitchen when I make that comment :) Anyway, every morning the same question pops into my head: What am I going to make for dinner tonight? Out of habit, I look up at my muse, Mario and hope for some culinary inspiration. Usually, he's not too much help. My kids tell me to follow Mario's lead and have pizza every night. Good try kids.
If I only had to feed myself, it would be so easy. I could try out new recipes, play around with new ingredients and probably knock out a tasty dish. Most of my crowd are very cautious about experimenting with new recipes. My conservative husband likes to know what is hitting his plate. Two out of four kids are very picky eaters. So they are tough to please to say the least. If I go with one of our usual standby meals, I'll often hear from the peanut gallery: "Chicken again?" or "Didn't we just have this three days ago?" It is an uphill battle everyday.
I'm anxious to try out some new recipes that I have found from Food Network and some great blogs. I think I need to put in a new approach to slowly spoon feeding new foods into my meal plan. Since I feel like I'm running a diner some days, I have no problem putting together 2 meals once in a while. I'll make one to hopefully please most of the crowd, and I'll make another new recipe for me to sample. Maybe certain, intriguing aromas from a new dish will spark some interest with the rest of the gang. At least, I'll get a chance to add some variety to my recipe collection. I want to be a better cook. Doing two meals will add to the chaos of my kitchen. I think my culinary "confidence" will increase as I add new techniques and flavors to my cooking. Who knows? Maybe Mario won't be the only self-satisfied cook in my kitchen after all :)