Monday, September 23, 2013

Kate Miller 45: Freezer Meals

Chicken scraps, bean cans, and dirty dishes...this late in the game, it's time to call for backup. 

45. Freezer Meals (August, 2013)
            In preparation for her son’s arrival, Kate thought it would be a good idea to make a Costco run with Aunt, and make up a batch of freezer meals to be used over the coming two or three months. Kate had not done much exploring in the realm of social media—Facebook and a blog being her two small efforts. But she had recently signed up for a Pintrest account and found it fascinatingly helpful. She had already found many knitting and crochet patterns, and now she surfed the pins again to find suggestions for freezer meals. It was easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of boards, each full of pins, and each pin with several meal suggestions. But she sorted through them and saved ten to her own board. Then she systematically went through the posts and wrote comments below them for the meals that she wanted to try. This is ALREADY time consuming, she thought, after spending an hour and a half looking at things online, and I haven’t even gone shopping yet!
            But shopping she did go, and driving home, Aunt said that she could feel all the extra weight in the car. Kate looked regretfully at the number she had written in her checkbook, but felt a warming sense of satisfaction looking at the fifty pounds of meat on her counter. They would do for a lot of meals. The first day, Kate managed to get eight meals in the freezer—two cooked and the rest for the crock pot. She checked them off her list with relish. A couple days later, she managed another four, again, two of them already cooked. She checked them off, but looked with dismay at all the other meals she had on her list.
            Let’s face it. Kate thought to herself, I’m slowing down. I’m tired. I can’t even take a step without my leg hurting (blast that silly nerve). How am I going to lean over the sink and clean another 20 lbs of chicken thighs? Besides, I’ve never made any of these meals before. What if they’re terrible? All the wasted time…Ugh…
            At this opportune moment, Mister appeared behind Kate and wrapped his arms around her. She leaned back, letting his strength seep into her, and nuzzled her cheek against his.
            “Do you know how amazing you are?” Mister asked her.
            “No, how amazing am I?” a smile cracking her strained expression. Has it been that long since I’ve smiled? Kate grimaced inwardly.
            “You’re carrying our baby around and cooking a month’s worth of meals in a few days.”
            Kate liked hearing his encouragement, but she couldn’t help but let her own worries out. She released herself from his hold and hobbled over to the refrigerator, “Look,” she demanded, pointing to many pounds of chicken, pork, cheese, and vegetables yet to be arranged into meals, “There’s too much left.” She sighed and leaned against Mister once again, feeling defeated. “I’m too tired, and there’s too much to do.”
            The next day, Mister entered the kitchen with Kate and stood at the sink for what must have been the greater part of an hour, cleaning and processing the rest of the chicken thighs. Kate made up another seven meals. She knew she couldn’t have done half as much on her own. And here he was, her ‘knight in shining armor’ slaying the most odious dragon of a task with the skillful thrust of the sword…or knife, really.
            A few more meals over the next couple days, and their small chest freezer was well stocked. Kate liked to open the shiny white lid and peer over the edge to see rows of colorful gallon bags and aluminum pans and long white packages of fish filets.
            One night during their frenzied week of cooking, Kate lay next to Mister, feeling overwhelmed with love as she realized once again how carefully and well he cared for her.
            “Do you know how much I love you?” She whispered in his ear.
            “How much?” he asked.
            Kate hadn’t thought this far ahead. She tried to think of something to say. ‘A lot’ was absolutely not going to cut it. ‘More than you can imagine’ was just patronizing. She thought and thought was at a complete loss.
            “I…I don’t know,” she finally stammered.
            Mister stared at her in disbelief. Then he started to laugh, and Kate began to giggle uncontrollably. “I don’t know!” she chortled, “That’s why I’m asking you!” 

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