Friday, September 10, 2010

In my day...

My son and I had one of those parent /teenager arguments yesterday. As usual, it got pretty ugly with me telling him he was selfish and self-centered. He on the other hand, told me that I was disrespectful to him. Well, excuuuuuuuse me for being disrespectful to a fifteen year old! Boy, I guess I’ve got some nerve not paying the proper respect to someone who is kind enough to allow me the pleasure of washing his clothes, feeding him and his reptiles and scouring his toilet. He is even good enough to let me drive him to and from school every day and wherever else his heart desires, and he doesn’t even complain about it. I guess I need to start realizing how lucky I am.

Man, did I ever get the short end of this respect thing. I was taught by my parents that respect was something that was earned and measured by your actions and character, not by birthright. Respect wasn't the only thing that parents in my day didn't freely pass out. My peers and I walked back and forth to school, six miles, in the snow and broiling south Texas sun, hungry, and without shoes. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea.

I can tell you one thing without exaggeration; we didn’t get Cadillac Escalades for our first car or school trips to Europe at fourteen. My son and daughter didn’t get these things either, but some of their friends did. See what we’re up against? In my day, we kids bought our own cars and worked all summer long to earn the money to put gas into them. If we wanted to get a tattoo, then we had better join the Navy.

Our parents didn’t take us, sign the permission slip and then get one to match. We also weren’t told that our feelings were the only ones that mattered; personally, my parents were stuck on this crazy “do unto others” thing. We were encouraged to try everything, and when we won at something, our achievements were celebrated with a pat on the back, not a ticker tape parade. When our heads got too big and we became too full of ourselves, we were knocked down a peg or two, just to keep us grounded. Looking back, I guess my stupid old parents knew something after all.

After I had my first child, it didn’t take me long to realize that this parenting thing isn’t as easy as I thought. It is not for the faint of heart or the lazy. If your needs come first in your mind, do society a favor and skip having children, because as soon as your child is handed to you, your little party is over. They want YOU not things. It is a very thin line between giving your children everything you never had and giving them too much, but it’s not rocket science, you can figure it out.

You may want to be cool with your children, but beware, because being cool is dangerously close to being a pushover. Being a good parent is sometimes a dirty job, but it is the most important and rewarding one you will ever do. It is worth the effort, I promise. Just remember, you must pay very close attention to these people because they will go feral on you in a heartbeat.

After our argument, I told my son his own little party was over; no more rides to and from school. He is now riding the bus and doing his own laundry. Well, I should have done my research because our school district requires an I.D. and a pass to ride the bus home (long story, but he has neither). Oh well, I’m stubborn and I’ll figure it out. All I can say to my wonderful boy (who happens to be just as stubborn as I am) is, it’s a very long walk home young man, your dirty clothes are piling up and I love you more than you will ever know.

When the going gets tough in my house the tough (me) get cooking. Since I will spend most of my day worrying about how my son will get home from school, I’ll be chopping and sautéing to keep my mind off of things. Today, I’m going to prepare a new recipe of mine that incorporates my favorite late summer ingredients. I’m making an extra big batch so I can freeze some of it to enjoy in the dark, cold days of winter.



Chicken Sweet Corn and Green Chile Chowder

2 chicken breasts, partially frozen to make slicing a bit easier
4 slices smoked bacon, thinly sliced across
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 – 1/2 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 large (1/2 cup, 125ml) fresh roasted green chilies, skins removed and chopped
3 – 1/2 cups (875ml) water, divided
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 rounded tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (120g) shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup (250ml) whipping cream
1 tablespoon lightly packed finely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
Salt and pepper to taste


Slice chicken breasts into thirds lengthwise. Holding the breast slices together, slice very thinly across; set aside until ready to use.

In a non-stick stockpot set over medium high heat, cook the bacon until it is golden brown. Add the chopped onion and sauté until they are transparent; add the garlic and green chilies and sauté for one minute longer before adding the chicken pieces and cooking for approximately 3 – 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Add corn and three cups of the water, bringing to a simmer before adding the chicken bouillon, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Just before the 15 minutes is up, make a slurry by placing the flour in a small bowl and, while stirring constantly, adding the remaining 1/2 cup (125ml) water in a slow stream. Remove the cover from the pot and slowly pour in the slurry while stirring the soup. Turn the heat up to medium and, while stirring constantly, cook the soup for approximately 2 minutes longer. Add the Parmesan, cheddar, whipping cream, cilantro and salt and pepper. Heat for a moment longer before removing from the heat and serving piping hot.

*If you decide to freeze this for later, cook as directed but omitting the cream. Freeze in a heavy duty container. When you are ready to serve it, thaw and add the cream before serving.

Serves 4-5
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