Andrea was lying on the floor writing a letter and watching her mother prepare supper. Her mother used to work on one of those TV cooking shows, and she liked to present every meal as if it was some special gourmet treat, whether it was something as fancy as lobster salad on a bed of fresh butter lettuce or just plain old boiled eggs, everything had to be just so. She’d liked her job a lot because she said every day was an adventure.
After Andrea and her sister were born she quit and confined her cooking to home, but she liked to think of every meal as a creation.
Not that anyone paid much mind. Dad just came in from work and throw his keys in the basket by the front door and changed into his old maroon and gold rugby shirt and a pair of black sweats. He would chomp down his dinner without admiring the salmon with special bourbon sauce and a sprig of fresh cilantro.
Her sister Charlene, the little monster, wouldn’t even eat half of Mother’s creations. Every night she demanded peanut butter and jelly.
“I don’t want quail’s eggs,” or “That lamb looks weird,” she would always say.
At length Mother gave up on the subject of trying to persuade Charlene to eat anything at all. She’d make her the sandwiches and let her go off to play with her puppets.
And then it happened. That evening as Andrea lay on the floor, she called into her mother to ask what was for dinner. She was looking forward to something special, perhaps a nice plump goose or a rib roast. She was hungry and the winter winds were roaring outside.
“I’m making spaghetti,” Mother said.
“Oh I love your homemade spaghetti and sauce,” Andrea said. She jumped up and ran into the kitchen.
A pot full of water was just heating up. Where was mother’s pasta maker? My goodness, was that a jar of store bought sauce on the counter?
“I’ve decided to cut down my workload,” Mother said. “Nobody really cares about my meals anyway.”
“I do,” Andrea said. She felt a little forlorn.
“You’ll get used to it, dear. I hear that some store-bought meals can be quite tasty.”
“Not like homemade.”
Mother smiled. “Well, no, but think of it as an adventure. You should always look for adventures.”
Two weeks later Mother ran away with a Sous Chef from Le Jardin. She wrote a letter to Andrea telling her not to feel sad. “I’m off to have an adventure!” she wrote. “Someday you’ll have many of your own.”
Andrea folded the letter and put it in her treasure box.