I happened to run into a small neighborhood grocery store and discovered that they were having an awesome sale on ketchup. I nabbed 25—no, I’m not kidding—bottles of ketchup. I just knew that my daughters would be giddy at my grocery store score. Even though I’m not a fan of the condiment—I rarely even eat it with fries—ketchup is a much-valued staple in our evening meal line-up. In fact, it’s kinda our favorite for everyone in our family except for me.
When I ask my daughters to set the table, they set out knives, forks, napkins and ketchup. Whereas some people dip chips into salsa or French onion dip, my children dip their corn chips and their ridged chips alike into the tomato-y goodness.
That afternoon I lugged my overly-packed bags of ketchup into our kitchen and happily announced that I had hooked us up for the next three or four weeks, or, if we were very frugal, months! I pulled bottle after bottle of the sweet, red condiment from my grocery bag and set them on the table.
“Look!” I said, “We are set, right?” I just knew that this was one grocery run that would be pleasing to all of us. My husband and I would be happy at the financial deal I had just scored, and our daughters would be thrilled at the prospect of not running out of ketchup any time soon.
“Why’d you get that kind, Momma?” my younger child asked me as she turned a bottle over in her hand, carefully examining it as if looking for clues that would lead to infinite wisdom and beauty through the tomato-based paste.
“This kind was on sale!” I bragged. With the savings, surely I could score a date night or that new handbag I’d seen last week at the mall, right? “I got 25 bottles for the same price as four bottles of our regular kind.”
“Well,” proclaimed my older daughter with an air of precociousness and apathy that only a tween is capable of displaying in tandem. “We don’t eat this kind.”
Now, I’m no connoisseur…but as far as ketchup goes, as long as it’s red and thick, there is no difference in my mind at all. I was baffled and even a little distraught as to why my children wouldn’t eat this kind of ketchup, especially considering I had just brought home 25 bottles.
“We’ve never seen this kind of ketchup before. It’s not real ketchup. They don’t even have commercials,” my ketchup aficionado explained.
Sadly, she just proved what I always believed to be true: television was dictating our lives. The lack of television advertising was probably how I could afford to buy all those bottles without breaking a twenty dollar bill.
If my purchase was to be of benefit and not in vain, this would call for drastic measures. I opened a box of cheese crackers and squirted some of the new, unadvertised ketchup onto a saucer. I dipped the little cheesy square and tossed that baby into my mouth.
I faked a smile and chomped noisily, allowing a “yummm…” and an “ummm-hmmmm” to escape. Then, I did something really weird. I dipped another cracker and ate it. And then another and another, all the while, my daughters stood at my side watching me eat the ketchup-dipped crackers as if watching a royal tester consume the princesses’ meal to determine its safety.
“It’s good?” my younger daughter asked skeptically. “It’s delish!” I said, shoveling another cracker into my ketchup hole. “Wanna try?”
Both girls shook their heads. “Nah. But I will now eat this unknown ketchup,” my older daughter said.
Whew! I sighed with relief. The ketchup could stay, my family was set. Life was good. I dipped another cracker and took another bite. It was at that point that I realized I was alone in my kitchen, surrounded by bottles of ketchup, eating cheese crackers dipped in my least favorite condiment.
The things a momma does…