In the dark of the early morning I quietly slip from my bed and tip-toe into the kitchen. Using the light from my phone I gently rock the metal lid back and forth on the tin where the Christmas cookies are stored. Easy, easy I inch the lid off and lay it on the counter. I am fully prepared to finish off the hot pink iced cookies. To help save the health of the children of course. I shine the weak light into the metal tin and see one lonely iced star waiting patiently on the sheet of waxed paper. In less than two days, a double batch of iced stars, angels, trees, and Santas have vanished. The bottom of the tin is sprinkled with dots of dripped pink icing and my little star.
The icing is hot pinkish because it takes almost a full bottle of red food coloring to have a truly red icing and then it tastes funny. And so at Christmas and Valentines we have a pinky red icing on our cut out cookies. I pick up the star and kiss it in the center. The last Christmas cookie and it waits for me. No one to grab it from my hand or make me feel guilty. Slowly, I nip off one star point and rotate the cookie. Nip. Turn. Nip. Turn. Until I have a rounded center edged with teeth marks. I pop the last bite into my mouth and am thankful that it is indeed the last cookie.
The cookies and candies have been delicious. The sausage biscuit balls were inhaled straight from the oven. The cakes and pies and jello with the pretzels on bottom were eaten with gusto along with ham and more ham and mashed potatoes. Christmas was absolutely delicious this year. In fact, the past few days, Nexium has been my best friend joining me in the kitchen in the early mornings. But, alas, the feasts are over and in all of my parental wisdom I made sure there would be no squabbles over the last Christmas cookie.
With the taste of the pink icing still in my mouth I peruse the fridge. I see there is STILL some ham left and a small bowl of soggy broccoli and a large bowl with three sugared carrots. I make an executive decision and toss the broccoli and drag out the ham all while juggling my phone. Finally, I ditch the phone because I accidentally called the orthodontists office when trying to tap the light back into action. I switch the kitchen light on so I can see properly. It is doubtful that anyone will wake enough to join me. I slide the cutting board onto the cabinet and chop the ham into small bits. My intention is to add the ham, along with some onion, to a pot of pinto beans.
The ham and onion are waiting but I can’t reach the beans which have somehow managed to be tossed up to the highest shelf. Some teenager, I expect, decided that if I couldn’t see them, then I would forget that I had purchased them. After the past few days of feast foods, I thought a simple meal of beans and cornbread would be just the ticket plus we wouldn’t have to eat ham again that night. While dad and I love beans and cornbread, our offspring have never developed a taste for it, thus the dry beans were tossed willy-nilly in some forgotten cabinet until I had extra ham begging to go in the pot.
Let me back up a few minutes on the beans. Several months ago – maybe even a year or so – there were predictions, as there generally are at the end of each year, that we would all be going into a severe famine soon. In my capacity as the foremost, food decision-maker of the family I purchased several large bags of pinto beans and several large bags of rice and a dozen or so boxes of family size macaroni as an emergency food supply so I knew I had beans in the house I just couldn’t reach them. Fifty or sixty pounds of beans just waiting on some Christmas ham and onions.
Rather than climb on the cabinets in my nightgown, I decided to wait because the teen would awaken soon and be hungry. Sure enough he stumbled in before I go the dishwasher emptied. I quickly turned and before he could breathe his morning breath on me I asked politely, “Could you climb on the cabinets and get me some beans?”
He sneered at me and quick as a snake replied, “Ooohhhh, you mean the Apocalypse beans?”
I rolled my eyes and nodded. He continued. “You mean we can eat them now? We aren’t going to need them for the future?”
Right then I wanted to smack him but I needed him to climb on the counter and get me the open bag of beans. I smiled and shooed him up the cabinets. He handed me everything but the beans – and I think he did it on purpose. Finally, he dropped a bag of beans on the cabinet and jumped down in one smooth motion and scampered from the kitchen.
If in this New Year you find yourself hungry or one of the media induced predictions does happen to come true, then you know you can come to my house for some cornbread and Apocalypse beans. I won’t be running out anytime soon.