I am slowly facing the reality that I can no longer multi-task; at least, not when it comes to combining my entrepreneurial, social networking with my love for cooking.

My Rogue sat there and didn’t say much last night.  He was gulping down the food in his normal fashion; the joke around here is that he normally ends his meal with “Good as usual, Honey”, then I ask him, “Do you remember what it tasted like?”, but tonight’s meal was anything but normal.  I’m a great cook and have been for years, except when I’m tired: then, I can’t even season boiled water correctly.  This is why I often order the special at any little café…I know the cook put all his effort into that dish, before he tuckered out; the rest of the menu is normally routine, automated, prepped ahead stuff.  I’m not stupid.

My Rogue was almost finished when he began,

Well, I wasn’t sure what it was when I first saw it; it’s still chewable, Honey, but I guess you got so focused, you didn’t hear the timer, huh?

This statement was extremely polite for My Rogue.  Days past, he’d have blurted out,

Good gosh a mighty, what in the world did you do????

And the emphasis would have been on YOU and why I was EVEN ATTEMPTING to cook one of HIS recipes.  After all, macaroni and cheese was not a staple in my childhood home.  I didn’t even know one could find a recipe for it; I just thought Kraft had provided it since the beginning of eternity.

Mom rarely fixed anything that came from a box.  When we did have it in the house, it was for evenings that Mom was too tired to think up another combination, and the Kraft dish accompanied either fish or meat.  Always, always, there were green vegetables to round out the color on the plate.

Like my mother, My Rogue’s mother was a Kansas farm girl who knew how to stretch a budget, but her fare was simply good and nutritious as she didn’t really enjoy cooking as much as she enjoyed other home skills like sewing.  I never had the pleasure of knowing her, but my sister-in-law gave us their mom’s recipe; and My Rogue has made it often.  And I totally enjoyed its buttery finish.  The directions were always reiterated verbally:

Don’t forget to put pats of butter on top!

Last night, I decided to fix an easy dinner. The catch here was that I couldn’t find the recipe, so I opened up my old cookbook for the “old-fashioned” version.  The recipe was not the problem. This one seemed to be close enough, so I followed it with only a couple slight adjustments.

This oven runs on the lower side of the actual temp, so I remembered to raise it by ten degrees.  What I forgot was that once adjusted, I should follow the suggested cooking time, which I didn’t do.  Remembering my oven runs slow, I upped the time.  In my haste, I’d now over compensated (fairly habitual for my worry-wart personality), and completely unthinking, popped the casserole into the oven.  Had some nice fresh green and yellow squash, Arkansas tomatoes and Vidalia onions, so sliced them all very thin, added some cracked pepper and a dash of salt, and some fresh cilantro chopped roughly, then set them on low to sauté in a bit of olive oil for a nice, colorful side dish to go with the baked mac and cheese.

Operative word: baked.  (This poor lot could have used a sunscreen by the time the timer buzzed.) I pulled it out and realized I’d blown this simple, nourishing dish. Back to the table conversation.

“It’s supposed to be macaroni and cheese, Honey. I left it in too long”

“I know what it’s supposed to be; I’m not stupid”.

Thank God it’s still edible.  I’m really sorry…

Nothing to be sorry about.  I just think you were trying to do too many things, Honey.

No kidding.  These days, there was no think; there was just do. Multi-tasking was always a sham; yes, women can do it, but sometimes we just can’t hide the evidence.  This was one of those times and, after many years of serving great meals,  I had now served My Rogue my first prototype for  Mac and Cheese Jerky:  a chewy, buttery, cheesy topped block of carbohydrate and protein easily held in the hand and that could be eaten on the run; cold or warm! My entrepreneurial spirit had already begun to imagine some of the possibilities.

Perhaps if I designed a label and marketed it like a protein bar…