Don't You Love Lasagna?
I’ve never been much of a cook, and shortly after my divorce, I had a fight with every cooking utensil and ingredient in my kitchen while trying to make lasagna for a man I was crazy about at the time. Now, I refer to him as the rebound man, but at the time, I thought he was going to save my life.
I was writing and selling ads for a local magazine earning a yearly salary of zero, in addition to writing plays for a local children’s theater that my son was involved in, consequently the company did well, but I didn’t.
Therefore, between working all the time, and rearing a child on my own, I barely had time to breath, let alone date, although I was determined to make the relationship work.
The man I was seeing had children but they were older than Taylor, and therefore not as active, and his ex- wife had custody, so Taylor joined us on most of our dates.
My new friend was nice enough about single parent things, but after we dated for a while, I felt bad about being busy all the time and never having a baby sister.
Therefore, one day in an effort to make him happy, I said, "Why don’t I fix you a meal this week-end, and then we’ll go see a movie, just the two of us?"
He smiled and said, "Oh no Ann, you don’t have to do that. I didn’t mind helping you with your car, I mean…"
At which point I thought to myself, please do not do it, mister. Please don’t treat me like I’m a damsel in distress, because I like you and you will ruin everything...please stop talking, dumb man, please stop-
Hence, before he could utter another word, a word with the potential to ruin a perfectly good evening, I turned to him and said one of the dumbest things I’ve said in my life, "Don’t you love lasagna?"
(I already knew lasagna was his favorite dish from one of our first dates or our "interview" date.)
"Yeah," he said, while shaking his forefinger up and down, and looking at me as if I was a mind reader.
"As a matter of fact I love lasagna," he said, scratching his head, and wondering how I could have known something private about him.
In fact, when I look back on it he was probably worried I had asked someone questions about him, and was about to get antsy; or he may have been beginning to think I wanted to marry him or something, the narcissist.
I was getting frustrated by the whole single mother dating scene; I felt like I may as well start looking into retirement homes for singles because there was no way I could split myself into...meaning I couldn’t be at home with my child and out on date at the same time.
Moreover "Split myself into" is one of the remarks I said under my breath in the grocery store with Taylor, who was seven at the time when we went to get supplies for the lasagna, which by the way, I hadn’t a clue how to bake.
I didn’t mind making my new friend his favorite dish, in fact that was the point, I wanted to do something nice for him, I just didn’t have any where near the amount of money I needed to make lasagna. I was so young I barely knew how to cook...
I remember turning the exhaust on over the stove before making pancakes for my husband and Taylor years before..
Then after our divorce every time I began to make pancakes, Taylor stopped me and said, "Wait, wait a minute Momma," before he climbed on the stove to turn the exhaust on himself, poor child.
Anyway, getting back to Taylor and I shopping for the lasagna ingredients and me rambling under my breath; (if I ever learned anything from parenting, is was if you think your children are not listening or watching what you are doing at all times, think again.)
Moving on, I was so upset when I reread the list of ingredients I got out of the package of a tomato soup can, I panicked and said to myself, "If I could just disappear, I just want to fly away, and never return. A single pan of lasagna is going to cost me at least a weeks worth of groceries and all I have is enough money to buy groceries for a week."
When I realized the predicament I was in, I lost my composure and started talking aloud to myself holding my son’s hand as he walked beside me in silence.
"There just isn't any way I can afford to make this lasagna, there just isn't, gosh what is wrong with men? If I could afford to make lasagna, I would have been able to hire a team of cooks, a housekeeper, and a mechanic. Actually, for that matter, why not just take a year off and go to the Bahamas or better yet, I can write a novel and put Taylor in an excellent private school."
Oh, but wait I need to make his lasagna first...we have to do that, that is, after I write three ads for a run down pancake house that probably won’t pay me a penny..."
I went on like this until I felt Taylor squeezing my hand, then I heard him say,
"Momma I’ll help you make the lasagna, I know how to do it. I know you need a friend to go out with, and Daddy told me to help, I’ll make the lasagna.
My heart melted, I have never loved a person more, then I loved him at that moment.
I haven't a clue how we managed to get all of the ingredients (I probably spent all my money) but we did, and it didn’t end there.
Afterward, I realized I didn’t have a pan big enough to hold the amount of ingredients that I had on my list, because I doubled the recipe, thinking my date could take some home and we would have enough to eat for at a week, which by now, had become a necessity, at least for me.
Therefore, I went back to the store and bought a pan big enough and deep enough, (or at least I thought it was) to load it down with layer upon layer of every ingredient in lasagna. I was so proud of myself.
Then the time came for me to show Rebound man the kind of woman he just may be lucky enough to have by his side for a awhile.
Nevertheless, as soon as he knocked on the door the buzzer on the oven went off, so I had Taylor answer the door while I went to get my delicacy out of the oven. My friend said hello to Taylor and headed toward the kitchen as I headed toward the living room, but I didn’t make it out of the kitchen with the pan of lasagna.
When I pulled the pan from the oven door, the ingredients were too heavy for the pan to hold them, therefore as if in slow motion, the entire pan crumbled onto the kitchen floor….and into my lap.
It looked like someone took two dozen jars of everything in the grocery store and poured it on my lap. I sat in the pile of food crying uncontrollably, embarrassed that I had lost control the way I did, but I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my face. My date tried to come in the kitchen, and I could tell he wanted to laugh, but I threw my hand up to shield my face full of tomato sauce and tears.
In addition, Taylor intercepted, "Now, don’t you be mad at my mom because that was all the money she had for groceries this week."
My friends mouth dropped open and he started to say something, but Taylor went on, "There was no way she could afford this lasagna, and she wants to know what is wrong with men? When she found out how much this was going to cost she wanted to fly away and never come back...because if she had the money to buy lasagna she could afford to buy us a plane, and we could have a housekeeper, and a thousand ninja turtles, and even a brand new car..."
It was so funny, I lost my composure again, but in a good way...Finally, I stopped him and hugged him back and forth, reminding him that I didn’t say anything about Ninja Turtles or planes...
Then, the three of us sat in the slop and laughed…until it was too gross to anymore. Incidentally, we went out to eat… Moreover, the rebound man and I have been back and forth for years now...Taylor has not bought his plane yet, and I still cannot cook.
Motherhood is an art impossible to explain, one which requires a vast sea of love, devotion, compassion, and understanding, unmatched by any affection we will ever know again.- Ann Clemmons
Words are the core of our souls, without written, vocal or lyrical expression we lose sight of one another or worse, ourselves. Words bring forth the essence of the human spirit; so express yourself without abandon.
Beatrix Potter’s Journal, 17 November 1896, from the National Trust collection.
Alone in her world
of make believe
weaving her stories
of magic and light
She brings joy
to the eyes
of innocent minds
less jaded and free
For only they know
what's in her heart
holding the secrets
she guards so well
Life's hidden mysteries
belong to those
whose wisdom and truth
shine on in imagination
Written for Ann
Of The Horoscope Junkie
Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”'
F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Lines from The Great Gatsby)
"A Southerner Talks Music"
"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us."
An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
"I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself"