Real Cooking

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST
I should have taken my daughter to the clinic on Saturday morning. I should have listened to that little voice in my head-common sense, mother’s intuition, divine intervention’whatever it might have been that said, “Take her to see the doctor.”

It was that same little voice that sent me for the thermometer on Thursday night. My daughter had come home from track practice that evening looking a little more droopy than usual. At least I thought so.

“Are you feeling well?” I had asked.

“I’m just tired,” she had replied as she dug into her supper. She ate with gusto-no problem with that child’s appetite-and then went into the other room to get her homework done.

“I think Meg’s getting sick,” I said to Keith.

“She looks fine to me. Has she complained about not feeling well?” Keith asked as he peeked into the next room to look at Meghan as she studied.

“She says she’s fine, but I don’t think so.”

“Don’t go searching for trouble,” was my husband’s reply.

Sometime later, Meg made a phone call and then curled up on the couch to read a book. Normal enough. I came in and sat down beside her, giving her a thorough motherly once over. She peered up at me from over her book cover.

“What are you looking at?”

I think she thought I had lost it.

But there was just something about her-how her eyes looked and how she held her body. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I couldn’t let it go either.

“Are you sure you feel OK?”

“I’m fine,” Meg laughed. “Why do you keep asking? I’m just tired.”

“No headache? Nausea? Sore throat, aching muscles, pain….”

“Well, I’m a little cold.”

“You’re cold? Do you mean you feel chilled?”

I moved to feel her forehead and then I went to get the thermometer The girl’s temperature was 102.4 and she “was fine, just a little tired.”

“You’re sick,” I shouted. “I knew it, I knew it.”

I was almost gleeful as I retrieved the Tylenol from the kitchen’s medicine box. Sweet vindication.

“But I feel fine.”

And she did all the next day. Of course, we kept her home from school on Friday as her temperature hovered between 101 and 102. But when I checked in on her, she only complained of boredom.

“I feel fine,” she would say. “I wish I could go to school.”

“This is weird,” I would think. “I wish this fever would just go away.”

It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that the sore throat, stuffy nose and “funny feeling” ear showed up-about an hour after the clinic closed, of course.

Earlier in the day, I had stood over her and seriously debated whether to take her in or not, but her fever had gone down to around 99 and I eventually talked myself into believing that she was getting better.

Now it’s Sunday night and Meg is still sick, her temperature has varied like a roller coaster all day- up and then down, up and then down again.

She won’t be going to school tomorrow but will make a trip to the clinic instead. I think it’s warranted after having a fever for four days.

I really hate it when my kids are sick. Meg’s illness should come as no surprise because Alex recently battled a combination of sinus and viral infections that kept him home from a full week of school. Maybe that was why I was so quick to pick up on Meg’s fever.

Maybe, but I like to think that as a mom, I have a sixth sense where my kids are concerned. It might not be true, but I like to think it.

And I like them to think that I have that power, too. With two teenagers in the house, I’m willing to use every trick in the book to see them through to a healthy adulthood.

Today it’s determining a fever from a child who doesn’t even know she’s sick. Tomorrow it might be heading off a kid who’s going down the wrong path.

“I see in my mind a party…a party with many young people but with no parents in sight. I see, wait…yes…it’s getting clearer. I see my son and daughter staying at home tonight. The all powerful, all seeing, all knowing mother has spoken.”

Could be fun, playing with their minds like that.

* * *

Recently, I was given a recipe combining bologna, macaroni and tomato soup. I haven’t tried that one yet.

My son also has been after me to copy a dessert he saw featured at a restaurant: Twinkie tiramisu. I haven’t had time to fiddle with that recipe, either.

So that leaves me with the recipe written below. Hope you aren’t too disappointed.

Lime Chicken Soft Tacos

11/2 pounds skinless, boneless, chicken breast meat, cubed or cut into strips

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 lime, juiced (whole lime if the fruit is small)

1 tsp. white sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 green onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

10 (6-inch) flour tortillas

1 tomato, diced

1/4 cup shredded lettuce

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup salsa

Combine vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, green onion, oregano and garlic and pour over chicken. Marinate for one hour (or longer) in a plastic or glass container.

Saute chicken in a medium pan over medium high heat for about 20 minutes. Add remaining marinade, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an extra 10 minutes.

Wrap the lime chicken mixture up in warmed tortillas topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa.

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