Me: Is the table set?
Pai: Sit, sit, sit! Time to eat.
Me: Ooooh, smells great.
Pai: Beef and bean stew.
Me: Double yum. This is great, babe.
Pai: Couldn’t have done it without you.
Hank: Who made the stew?
Me: We both did.
Pai: Your Mãe made the beans and the caldo (broth) and I added the meat and other things.
Me: We collaborated. Do you know what collaborate means?
Pai: It means we worked together, bringing our individual talents, to make something.
Hank: Go team!
Me: You know, your grandpa snitch told me when he was a boy at the end of each month his mother, my grandma Hanford, used to take all the contents of their refrigerator and make something called, “ Landing Pot Stew,” because everything in the fridge would land in the pot.
Me: And I always wondered if he really meant everything. I mean, what about ketchup? Mustard? Strawberry Jam?
Hank: Chocolate cake?
Me: Oh, that would have never been an option. You grandpa snitch was the second oldest of five kids. Five kids means there is never any leftover chocolate cake.
Pai: Tuna salad with mayonnaise?
Me: Pickles in stew. (shudders)
Hank: Did my grandpa snitcher like it?
Me: Your grandpa snitcher is someone very special. He has the ability to like any and all foods, regardless of flavor, except cilantro. He does not like cilantro.
Hank: What is cilantro?
Pai: Coentro (cilantro).
Hank: Oh, Ok. I hope that never landed in the landing stew. But why did my grandpa snitcher’s mommy do that?
Me: She never wasted a thing. She was very good about using everything and anything to make their world a more beautiful place. She made rugs out of old clothes, she made quilts out of leftover fabric, she made everything count for if not one purpose than two or three. She understood conservation before it was trendy to first reduce, then reuse and lastly recycle.
Hank: Well, that is good.
Pai: Yup, but I don’t know if I could eat the landing pot stew.
Hank: Mama. Is this the same grandma that made the pink chicken and you couldn’t eat it so you flushed it down the toilet and lied and got ice cream and felt so, so, so bad that you only ever told me about it, but me?
Me: (shocked inhale, blushing)
Pai: Well now I know too… What is this about pink chicken?
Hank: Oops. Sorry, mommy!
Me: Yes, the very same grandma. It is ok, Hank. I can tell your papa anything, he is my best friend, even my deepest darkest secret. (deep breath) We are all going to need another bowl of stew while I explain.
Pai: Pass over your bowls. I need to hear this Story.