|"Well, judges, here we have Cheese Two Ways: a feta-garlic-toast alongside a cheddar quesadilla wedge, and served with a peanut-studded clementine salad and pineapple garnish. Enjoy."
Only then, to my everlasting horror, the children seem to expect to eat lunch during the weekend also.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" I don't say. But here's what I do say: "Iron Chef lunch!" This is a contest that the children organize entirely on their own, whereby they are allowed to use anything in the house (leftovers are fair game) to make lunch for themselves and each other. Sometimes they seem to have a time limit ("10 minutes left!" they call to each other) and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they judge each other (amazingly, it is always a tie) and sometimes they don't bother, although there is always much discussion of presentation and flavor. Sometimes they have friends over and break into teams. Sometimes there is a mandatory ingredient everyone needs to use. They appear to have intuited that if they cover apricot jam with honey and rainbow sprinkles and call it lunch then the authorities will be brought in to shut down the entire operations, and so they prepare reasonably wholesome meals. And the grace! The flair! The utter stylishness with which they accomplish this! I cannot recommend enough that you let your kids have at it. But you have to be prepared to leave them alone, or I think that the whole thing won't work. Even if it means that they garnish toast with croutons or think that a salad needs "just a weensly more pickles." Plus, you maybe have to watch a little bit of awful tear-streaked food-contest TV first (you can do this on Hulu).
|"Judges, I present you with Red Grape and Dill Havarti Crostini, with cashews, mint, and a strawberry vinaigrette."
|"Judges! Enjoy this Cheese Plate. Garlic toasts, digestive biscuits, brie wedges, and house-spiced olive oil."
|Ben and a small friend add the finishing touches to their Cheese Two Ways "platings."
|Meanwhile, Birdy and her friend (and Strawberry) figure out how to glamorize leftover rice.
|Which they do successfully. "Here we have a Peanut Rice Salad, with a peanut vinaigrette, roasted peanuts, dried cherries, and a cilantro garnish." It was crazily good.