There are many ways, and many reasons that people lie about food including “I made it myself,” “its really delicious,” and “I don’t know who ate the rest of the chocolate babka.” I am here to confess that I sometimes lie about providing politically correct food for my family.
Tonight I told Sam that he and I would be eating a concoction of ramen noodles, ground beef, and frozen vegetables of which he is particularly fond. Since we have been discussing “signature dishes” at our house lately (thanks to “Hell’s Kitchen”) he requested that this dish be known, henceforth, as “The Sam,” and I agreed.
Here’s where the lying comes in: I spend time with people who would never feed their children something as full of sodium, fat and, well, vulgarity as ramen, ground beef and frozen vegetables. Perhaps if it were made with organic ground turkey, Soba noodles and veggies fresh from the farmer’s market it would be acceptable to them, but then Sam wouldn’t eat it. If Sam brought up “his” dish in front of these friends, there is a good chance that I would be the first to dismiss it as an aberration, and to sing the praises of brown rice, broiled fish and steamed vegetables. Maybe I would even volunteer grim statistics about the preparation of ramen noodles (they’re fried, you know), and decry red meat in general. The fat! The hormones! The Mad Cows!
The thing is, that although I personally like brown rice and fish, I live with people who would rather die than face either substance on their dinner plate. Ever. (Although my husband is getting better about fish). I am perfectly capable of preparing, say, grilled salmon with a lime-cilantro-chili butter over polenta with a side of micro greens, but no one here would eat it. I call it good if I serve a dinner with at least two fruit and vegetable servings, some lean protein and (on a banner day) some whole grain. Despite the salt and fat, “The Sam” does contain lots of vegetables and a fair amount of dietary fiber. Really.
Maybe I will come to the point where I can chant “say it loud, I sometimes cook using use soup mix, and I’m proud!” In the mean time, I will probably continue to put up the Gourmet Organic Goddess front when I’m feeling insecure. In case you, too, are willing to risk your childrens’ lives in exchange for a quick-cook dinner that includes a couple of servings of vegetables, here it is (I’ve been making this for so long that I no longer have an actual recipe, and have no idea where it came from):
The Sam (Serves 4)
- 1.25 lb. ground beef (I get the leanest I can find)
- Two 3 oz. packages Oriental flavor instant ramen noodles
- 16 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 tbsp. thinly-sliced scallions
In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium heat. Remove beef from pan with slotted spoon, place it in a bowl and remove drippings from pan. Season beef with one seasoning packet from noodles; set aside.
In the same skillet, combine 2 cups water, noodles (broken into small pieces), vegetables, ginger, and remaining seasoning packet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.
Return beef to skillet and heat through. Stir in scallions.