I have a question for all of the expat brothers and sisters out there in Puerto Vallarta right now: do you even cook? Do your children get three beautifully square meals per day, lovingly seasoned and still warm from the oven? And, if so, are you a Superparent, or just slightly unhinged?
The reason I ask is that I am seeking out information on how to pass nutrients on to my children without actually preparing them in food form. And that is because cooking is not my favorite thing to do right now. With the heat soaring outside, the last thing I want to do is fire up the gas stove and boil some spaghetti in my kitchen. What I WANT to do, and, indeed, spend a fair bit of time doing, is lie on the tile floor reading books about life in the Arctic.
Sure, you could mention that I have two teenagers and it’s time for them to learn to make meals. Yes, in theory that is accurate. But if I can’t handle the idea of being near a hot kitchen, how would I expect these two children, who have never been less inclined to engage in physical activity, to whip up some grub without making life unbearably stressful for me?
If you can tell me this, or possibly come to my home and show me how it’s done, or perhaps move in with me and cook all my food, then we can be best friends.
But the good news is that I found one solution to the cooking dilemma. It isn’t a long-term solution, but it is the most pleasant one I’ve found in awhile (besides just going out for tacos every night, which is pleasant until you stop ignoring the bathroom scale). A friend of mine asked if I would like to be part of a lasagna party. I said yes before knowing what she was talking about, because lasagna plus party sounds exactly like something I would enjoy.
She told me that she has solar panels, A/C, and a double oven. I told her I’d be right over, and she told me to wait until the actual day of the party. What we did was gather two more friends, a LOT of ingredients for lasagna, a bunch of snacks, and several bottles of wine (for the sauce, naturally).
The day of the party was spent chopping, assembling, baking, eating and laughing. A lot. We discussed the joy of trying to feed picky children, and we all agreed that cheese, tomato sauce and pasta was the winning combination. We added a small amount of red wine to the sauce and the rest was disposed of responsibly (more or less). It was so much work and so much fun.
I arrived at my home about eight hours later, triumphantly bearing three vegetable lasagnas, each of which weighing about as much as our terrier (who is slightly overweight according to his vet). Not only would I be feeding these people a well-rounded meal tonight, I had enough to freeze for sweaty days when only the microwave will do.
And, thanks to all the laughter and mom camaraderie and an afternoon spent in the air conditioning, I didn’t feel quite so irritable with my offspring. They almost seemed sort of cute in their adolescent-y way.
So, here’s my Tip on Tropical Summer Survival: Find a friend (or be a friend) with solar panels and strong A/C and have a food-making freezer party. Make as much food that can fit in these little fridge freezers (you’d be surprised how much can go in there). Have some wine and forget about the heat for awhile. It’s self-care and it’s family care. It sounds impossible. It sounds just like a Superparent.