The Country Boy’s work schedule has been such that we really don’t get much time with him until the weekend. For the most part, we are managing fairly well, and that’s mainly because the lawn only needs to be cut once a week and the garden is wrapping up its production.
And by “wrapping up” I mean that we only have two dozen eggplants and 3 dozen tomatoes a week.
Ah, the garden. It seemed like a great idea in the spring. But there is great pressure in needing to constantly consume produce – or finding unlocked cars to gift produce to strangers (OK, I never fully resorted to that measure. I have forced veggies on family members and friends insisting that people cannot leave parties without one in their hands…).
That was why when the Country Boy’s schedule changed and pulled him away I had to have a “heart to heart” talk about veggies with him. Now, my little city girls like veggies. But they won’t eat eggplant and tomatoes everyday for two months. Opening the refrigerator door was getting to be too much as the unused tomatoes were mocking me. I needed to be OK with having to say “good-bye” to some of the tomatoes – especially the ones that were pretty rough coming off the vine in the first place.
The County Boy seemed to be OK with that plan until this weekend. For some reason, he decided that Sunday was going to be “sauce” day. He wanted to use up all of our tomatoes, make a giant batch of sauce and freeze it for future use. What a great idea! Except for 3 things:
- My beloved Country Boy knows not one thing about making sauce.
- I had already prepped an Elk Roast in the crock pot for dinner and Elk Chili on the stove for lunch and it wasn’t even 11 am. In my world, that was akin to scratching cooking off the To Do list for the day.
- We had less than two hours before the girls soccer game and, once home from that, only an hour before heading to a special evening mass. Unless he was Giada De Laurentis, Mario Batali, and the original Hector “Chef Boy-ar-dee” Boiardi combined, I didn’t see how it was going to be possible.
Country Boy poo poo’d me and forged ahead. Sort of. I showed him how to peel the skins off the tomatoes and helped him start that process. I showed him how to seed the tomatoes (or would you call it de-seed?). I found the pots, pans, blender to puree the tomatoes, cut the other veggies, and added the seasoning.
In the course of all of this, I realized we had 10 minutes to get ready for soccer. Normally wouldn’t be a big deal – just throw on uniforms, grab a couple of chairs and water bottles and we’re off. Unfortunately this Sunday’s weather wasn’t cooperating with us. Cold and rainy, all four of us were at the fields without any of the appropriate gear. No umbrellas. No rain coats. No long pants. By the end of the game, the girls were popsicles, I felt like the worlds biggest slacker mom, and the Country Boy was lamenting about how he could’ve been making sauce rather than getting cold and wet.
I had no idea he felt so passionately about cooking.
By the time we got home and thawed out, the girls were mainly wiped out. Zoe especially was feeling sick and exhausted. The only bonus was that the sauce making operation could proceed without interruption.
And so it did – for another 3 1/2 hours.
By the time it was all done, we had spent over five hours cooking and used every red and mostly red tomato we had around the house (later on I did find another small bag with tomatoes in it, but that will be our little secret, OK?). And we had about a gallon of sauce to show for it.
“We just saved a lot of money. Spaghetti sauce is $5 a jar!” he said as we were climbing into bed.
“Um, honey,” I said. “Spaghetti sauce isn’t $5 a jar. The kind we buy is maybe $2.50 a jar and one brand we buy is on sale for a dollar a jar now.”
“What? Why didn’t you tell me? I would’ve done something else with those tomatoes.”
“Like what?” I asked
As he rolled over to sleep I heard him say, “I probably would’ve composted half of them…”
I think he was pushing my buttons with that comment, which is why I didn’t fill his unlocked car with produce.