A Middle Aged Woman Laughs (and Blanches) at Her Man’s Menus
By: Mary Fran Bontempo

“Dave? What do you feel like eating?” I called to my husband while en route to the refrigerator for the evening dinner time scavenger hunt.

“I don’t know. What do we have?” he answered.

Upon opening the appliance door, I knew the answer: some brown, wilted celery, moldy pasta in a container, foul smelling left-over chicken and a half gallon of sour milk.

Now before my mother reads this and has a coronary, let me explain. Just the day before, I had returned home from the shore, where I had set up camp with my two daughters, working on the boardwalk for the summer. My husband was left home to fend for himself and despite the fact that I left him with fresh foods and an assortment of meal time options, the decaying offerings in the fridge proved once again that obtaining healthy sustenance was not high on his priority list.

“Well, what we have are multiple science experiments and a smell which either signifies toxic waste or is a new chemical weapon that could easily bring Al Qaeda to its knees,” I said.

“Take a look in the pantry,” Dave said. “Is there anything in there?”

I opened the pantry doors. “There’s plenty in here,” I said, picking up one of a dozen packages of processed junk. “But there’s nothing in here that I’d want to put in my mouth. Look at the ingredients in these things. I can’t even pronounce half of them.”

“Yeah, but it tastes good,” Dave said. “And I’ve managed to survive since you’ve been away.”

“Survive? I’m surprised you’re not glowing in the dark after eating some of this stuff!”

“Hey, don’t knock a little radio activity. If I glow in the dark I save on the electric bill,” he smiled.

“Always, thinking, aren’t you?” I asked. “Seriously, what have you been eating while I’ve been gone? And why didn’t you eat the food I left you prepared in the fridge? All you had to do was put it on a plate and heat it up.”

Dave stared. “Really, Fran? Heat it up? Since when have you known any man either inclined or even capable of taking food from a container in the fridge and heating it up? And by the way, what are these ‘plates’ that you speak of? What is their purpose?”

“Honestly, you men, and I’m speaking collectively here, are helpless. It’s a wonder you don’t starve to death,” I huffed.

“Wait a minute. Just because you don’t see anything you’d eat doesn’t mean I go hungry. You’re a great cook, but honestly, sometimes I just enjoy fixing my own dinner and eating what I want,” Dave said.

“And just what would that be?” I asked.

“I have lots of options and they’re delicious. If you’re nice to me I’ll fix you my favorite dinner tonight—Tastykake Krimpets and Nutty Buddies,” he said.

“What?” I yelped.

“Yeah, and then we can have some Ho-hos for dessert,” he added.

I grabbed my keys and returned forty-five minutes later toting bags of fresh fruit, vegetables, salad and chicken. “Here, now you can actually eat something that wasn’t grown in a manufacturing plant and pumped up with enough preservatives to last until the year 2085,” I noted, putting away my purchases after delousing the fridge.

“All right. I guess I should eat some healthy stuff sometimes,” Dave conceded. “So what are we having for dinner?” he asked.

I surveyed the newly stocked fridge and pantry and then the clock. 7:00 PM. “Ugh. By the time I get something together it will be almost eight o’clock,” I sighed.

Dave shot me a look. “What do you say we go grab a bite to eat somewhere and start eating healthy tomorrow?” he asked.

“Well, I suppose I could order a salad,” I conceded.

“Now you’re talking. Hey it’s Whopper Wednesday at Burger King. I think I’d like a burger. They have salads for you there, don’t they?” Dave asked.

Another sigh. “Yeah. And they also have really good French fries, which I’ll probably get if we go there.” Dave looked at me, resigned and ready to give in. “Oh, never mind,” I said. “Carpe diem. Let’s just eat the burgers and enjoy ourselves.”

“Now you’re talking,” he said “And when we come home, we can still have Nutty Buddies or Ho-ho’s for dessert.”

It takes so little to make him happy. How could I refuse?

What lurks in your fridge when a man is in charge?  Click Comments below, in red, and share!