Monday, September 17, 2012


I was a lucky kid.  I didn't have too many chores, mainly I believe, because my Mom was not only very kind, but I think she preferred getting things done in a timely manner and to a standard that was acceptable to her.  It would take me hours just to wash the dinner dishes and I could see that my lackadaisicalness would cause her some anxiety.  On most of my dish washing occasions, she would politely offer to "finish up" for me, and I of course, would happily oblige.  She couldn't relax until these things were done and frankly, I was just way too slow at accomplishing these tasks.

I would be assigned fairly simple chores, like setting the table for dinner for instance.  I mean really, how much time could that take someone?  And what could you really do wrong, put the utensils on the wrong side of the plate, drop a glass on the way from the cabinet to the table?  Luckily we didn't have too many of these mishaps.

But there were a couple of chores that I always hated, and yes, I am using the word "hated" ~ they were anything to do with making a salad (there is something about washing and drying lettuce that doesn't agree with me) or the most dreaded of all chores, and the one thing I couldn't stand to hear my mother say, was, "honey, could you shred the cheese?"  The Jaws theme song starts right now.

I would hear those words and my insides would start to tremble, a coating of fear washed over my entire being.  The Grater?  I don't remember letting on how scared I truly was.  Oh, that sharp, bladed instrument, designed to shred and make bleed anything that entered it's line of fire, any knuckle that got in it's way.   It was like being asked to make some sort of human sacrifice. You knew for sure that it was going to happen.   Like when a Chinese daughter would cut a piece of their own flesh, mix it with tea or soup, and then give it to her sick mother to drink as a symbol of total sacrifice, love and respect.  It was a lot like that.  I knew in my heart that I would soon be shedding blood, giving more of myself than I wanted to, but not for my mother's health, instead, it was in the name of "dinner" ~ enchiladas or lasagna.

On those nights when our dinner menu consisted of a "cheese" entree, I would usually excuse myself before the grater made it's way out of the cabinet, feigning a need to use the bathroom.  I would stay in there for 30 minutes or so, or at least until I thought the coast was clear and that my mother had gone ahead and done all the prep work herself.  That would leave me to just finish up, placing the napkins on the table or the salt and pepper.  Wow, I was really a big help!

But then came the greatest of all inventions, rating right up there with the  GPS, the iPhone, dishwashers and microwaves.  Pre-shredded cheese!  Who ever it was that thought up the idea of pre-shredded cheese was absolutely brilliant.  Now helping prepare dinner doesn't have to cause panic attacks in young people everywhere, just rip open the bag of shredded cheese, pour the bagged salad into a bowl, and viola, Bob's your uncle.

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