The Todd is Head Chef and Dietician in the Collard Household. I gladly ceded that responsibility to him after our courtship, where I attempted to lure him into my clutches by making my mother’s signature Marinated Roast. Except–I’d been a strict vegetarian for years and had no idea what cut of meat one used. I stood, paralyzed with horror, in front of several nicely dissected and packaged animals. Of all things, a Rastafarian (Editor’s note: common perhaps where you live, but in Utah, we don’t see many of Jamaica’s Beloved Sons) came round the corner and paused beside me.
“Why are you just standing here, little sister?” he asked.
“Um, I wanted to make dinner for my boyfriend using my mom’s recipe, but I’m a vegetarian and I don’t know anything about cuts of meat anymore.”
My dreadlocked friend considered this seriously.
“So, you’re cooking for your man, but you won’t EAT the meat,” he cautioned, “that’s good. I’ll try to help you.”
So, two clueless vegetarians stared at the meat case for about 15 minutes until one of the butchers took pity on us, examined my mother’s recipe in her spiky handwriting and sent me on my way with the correct roast.
I’m pretty sure the butcher–who knew both The Todd and I–told on me, because my kindly spouse immediately took the reins (or the apron strings) from me and I’ve never had to cook again.
So, The Todd is the one who packs the boy’s lunches every night, with their careful gluten and sugar-free meals. He knows that at the lunch table the next day, their classmates will be scarfing down Lunchables and M&M’s. He knows that Zach and MacLean are only 9, and that eating a special diet–even when it makes you feel better–sucks when your buddies are chomping Twizzlers. So, he writes a note to pack in their little insulated bags to tell them he loves them. That he’s thinking of them. And The Todd’s notes take away their frustration and anxiety like he did from me before I had to admit that I stink as a cook. And my boys eat their fat-free hot dogs and squash chips with a smile.