Cabin Mom

June 20, 2019

I played cabin mom this weekend with Pat’s son Michael and his four friends. My friend Jody accompanied me on this trip. I wasn’t sure how the trip would play out. I didn’t think there would be any problems and there weren’t. When Michael asked me to cook for them, I asked him what he wanted me to cook and he said, “I don’t care, except I want biscuits and gravy, cheesy hash browns and bread.”

I have thoroughly enjoyed playing house mom to these boys this weekend. Cooking for them has been great. They seemed truly appreciative of the food.

I was prepared to cook for five teenage boys, seniors.  Initially, Michael was going to do the shopping, but we traded and Pat paid me to do the shopping. After rethinking it, I ended up doubling the grocery bill. Thank heavens, Jody paid for half! I wasn’t expecting that.

We cooked a huge pot of spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic knots, and caesar salad. There were tons of leftovers. What threw me off is, that the first evening they ate like birds.

After the first night, I was second-guessing my grocery purchases. The next morning we cooked biscuits and gravy, Michael’s favorite and first request.  There were lots of leftovers again. I was really worried I had over shopped.

We cooked Navajo tacos and none of them, other than Michael, had ever had fried bread before. We cooked two pounds of hamburger, pinto beans, and tomatoes for the taco mix. I made about twenty pieces of fry bread. Jody made her first batch of dough. She made a point to tell them to load up their plates.  This time they did. There wasn’t one bean left over. There was bread leftover but it didn’t last long.

Jody and I had started to play a game of cards. While we were playing cards, the boys went downstairs and had started a fire in the fire pit. We had assumed they were drinking beer or smoking weed. We smelled the weed in the cabin earlier.

At one point, one of the boys came into the cabin, hunting something to eat. He found the fry bread. I told him to heat it up and put butter on it and some sugar. He put an empty plate into the microwave and watched it for one minute. I didn’t really notice until the timer went off and he didn’t have his bread. I told him to put the bread on it this time and put it in the microwave he did.

He then had trouble trying to figure out how to put butter on the bread. I told him to bring me the bread and the stick of butter. I told him to just take the stick of butter and fold back the paper. Use the stick and rub the butter onto the hot bread. He got it. Into the night, they were warming bread, melting butter and sprinkling sugar on top of it. Bags of chips also disappeared. They had the munchies.

The next morning was the cheesy hash browns. The key to the cheesy hash browns is to use the dehydrated potatoes in the box. They don’t hold too much water.  You add a gold and red bell pepper and onion and caramelize it, then add the potatoes. Add some seasoning salt. Brown the taters. Add the cheese. I like to use the Mexican shredded cheese mix. Mix it up.  Serve. None of it was left. Just some eggs and bacon were left. We cooked two pounds of bacon. I bought three but only cooked two. I was learning.

Dinner was bow tie pasta with homemade Alfredo sauce. Mixed in with diced sautéed chicken with rosemary.  Sautéed summer squash with butter and salt and pepper. All of it got mixed together. One pot meals. There were leftovers. AGAIN. But this time, they went for seconds.

Breakfast the following morning was chorizo, eggs and diced potatoes with corn tortillas. Again, I didn’t learn my lesson. There were leftovers. Not of the potatoes but of the eggs and chorizo.

I seriously thought these boys would eat eggs. My kids eat a lot of eggs at one sitting. I eat a lot of eggs at one sitting. While we were at the store, I puzzled about the number of eggs to buy. We bought 4- 18 packages of eggs. Then, went back for one for a package, thinking, that’s not enough. Boy, was I wrong.

One of the reasons Pat paid for the food for the boys, is that he was going to have them do a bunch of work. We moved the living level floor, to the loft, and some of the living level to the basement. Michael decided he wanted to get that taken care of Thursday night, instead of Friday morning. I thought that was a wise decision.

They set about moving. We all pitched in. Jody swept up the loft. I packed up and cleared shelves. The boys moved bookshelves, tables, rugs, lamps, and sofas. After they were done, I had a nice homey living space. The living level was bare bones and ready to be floored. After cleaning and moving, everyone was hungry.

The last night, I cooked my mom’s goulash. Hamburger, onion, bell pepper, macaroni. Mixed together with Campbell’s tomato soup. Add Worcestershire until it changes color. Then, add frozen corn. NOT canned corn. I made a HUGE pot. It wasn’t a showstopper. They all had one bowl. Some larger than others, but only one bowl. I had a gallon sized Ziploc bag leftover to put in the freezer. At some point this summer, we will have goulash again.

Also, this evening, I made a cobbler. Michael didn’t ask for one, but I bought the ingredients anyway. I knew he would want one. It was a cherry- pineapple cobbler made with white cake. We still have the dutch ovens and just use them in the kitchen ovens now to cook with. Long gone are the days of using the coal briquettes to make the dutch ovens heat up to 350 degrees to cook cakes or biscuits. The kitchen oven works just fine.

The cobbler was a hit. I didn’t have any, as I was full from dinner. The boys hardly saved any for Jody. Luckily, she only wanted a little and that’s all she got. The boys devoured the cobbler. There was one piece of pineapple left in the pan. I ate that as I cleaned up. I was sort of disappointed I didn’t eat a bit of it and only had the taste of one bit of pineapple. I lost out.

In the morning, I was sure I had figured out the egg dilemma and meat ratio. I had purchased two packages of sausage links, 14 in each package. I decided to cook 14 eggs and only one package of sausage. I also had 4 pieces of bacon leftover that I was going to heat up. I cooked everything up. What was left of the cheese, was added to the eggs. After breakfast, there was one sausage and about a third of a pan of eggs left. For the life of me, I could not figure out how to feed eggs to these kids. They must just not like eggs. They eat them but I don’t think they like them, and they were too polite not to tell me. Someone claimed the sausage as we were cleaning up, but nobody wanted more eggs. They went out with the trash.

All in all, I don’t think I did too bad on the groceries. The kids ate most of the leftovers. They ate all the spaghetti but there was too much sauce left. They ate the rest of the biscuits and had too much gravy leftover. The alfredo was gone the next afternoon. They ate all but three of the oranges. They drank five packages of PowerAid. They drank all the waters. They ate three bags of chips. Several bags of popcorn and multiple candies from up at the cabin. They ate a box of cakes. They finished off almost all the groceries. I was worried that they hadn’t eaten everything. But really they ate almost all of it. All that was left was a carton of eggs, a pound of bacon and a package of sausage. All of it went to the freezer and will get eaten in July.

When I returned to Vegas, I texted my cabin boy and made sure he had arrived home safe. He had. He thanked me for a nice week. I told him that I enjoyed being up there and cooking for him and his friends and that was the truth. It was really nice being a mom to kids who needed me again. Even if they didn’t NEED me, exactly. It was nice to be appreciated for my cooking.

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