Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Friendship and Mrs. J's

We all know a Mrs. Johnson, that sweet neighborhood mother who was kind enough to invite you to stay for dinner when you had been playing at her house all afternoon. Thing is, Mrs. J wasn’t exactly a disciple of Julia Child.

She meant well, you see. And she was so kind about the invite. “Jack, why don’t you stay for dinner? It’s no trouble at all.” How could you say no? I mean you’d suffer through a leather pork chop or canned soup to save your friendship, right? Never mind that at that moment your mom’s pork roast was cooking to melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

My brother-in-law, Jack, indulged Mrs. J. so often that we've dubbed that less-than-stellar evening meal: a Mrs. J’s. You may call them by some other name, but the meaning is the same.

Mrs. J’s is a euphemism for the following:

sandwich night
macaroni and cheese (out of a box)
spaghetti WITHOUT meat
leftovers
overcooked anything
breakfast foods for dinner (pancakes, cereal, eggs)
grilled cheese and tomato soup
fried bologna
any combination of ground meat with ketchup
Hamburger Helper and any boxed derivative
Any combination of ground meat and a cheese-like substance the color of which is not found in the natural world

We’re known to have a Mrs. J’s every so often at the Hoke house. They tend to occur more frequently prior to payday. But that's not the only condition. Take last night, for instance. It was a typically crazy Monday night. Ryan had practice until 5 and the boys had to be at religion class at 6:30. Danny was working a little late and I had been wrapping gifts all day.

It was the perfect storm of conditions for a Mrs. J’s. Dinner was pancakes, but not the “just add water” variety. I make the Bisquick kind, complete with egg and milk. My stacks are smothered with butter and a healthy coating of Mrs. Buttersworth (Mrs. Butters as Mikey says).

I know I’m not alone in resorting to breakfast for dinner. A few weeks ago I ran into my pal, Lisa B. at Heinen’s. It was 5-ish and she was totally busted with not one but two boxes of Aunt Jemima’s under her arm. “Dan’s working late,” she offered helplessly. I held up my hand, "No need to explain. I'm with ya, sister."

The trick to successful use of Mrs. J's is for it not to become a chronic condition. Now I’m not a habitual Mrs. J, only the occasional. Last weekend I made vegetable lasagna and then coq au vin, both simply exquisite. But sometimes a fried egg on wheat bread sounds just right.

From my friend, Dave Potokar
Check this out from my friend, Dave’s blog. Anyone with boys will appreciate.

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