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It seems that, for the four weeks CrazyD was in Rwanda playing with the gorillas, he had a steady diet of…wait for it… PIZZA. Imagine, Rwandan pizza! Two words I never expected to hear together. So he can’t wait to get home to Mom’s homemade chicken soup…with real veggies. Well, I’m ready…carcasses in the freezer, rice ready to cook. I’ve been getting lots of practice since The Pig has been ill and I’ve been making it for her. But perhaps Crazy D won’t mind sharing with The Pig. I dare say, The Pig has been eating gourmet style compared to Crazy D. She gets two bowls of homemade soup at lunch, bits of chicken, mushroom pate (again homemade) on a cracker, salmon pieces on her dinner kibble, cheese bits and assorted raw vegetables that fall from the sky when food prep is under way. The Pig thinks it’s because Grandma is old,shaky, and putty in her adorable paws. I am. But I’m also sloppy.

I tell you, all moms out there, there’s nothing like sending your kid to camp, to a jungle, to the armed services to make him appreciate the gift that is Mom’s cooking. And if there’s ever a way to be the hero in your kid’s world, that’s it. I would highly recommend it as a life strategy. But it wasn’t always thus for our family.

I was, at one point, the most reviled mother on earth — or at least in our house. Everyone else’s mother was baking chocolate chip cookies, serving up minute rice casseroles, cheesy snacks, or ordering in KFC or junky pizzas for birthday parties. Not me. I was the Food Police. I sent my kids off to parties with their own rye crust pizzas with no cheese, carob cake with carob sauce masquerading as icing, rice bread sandwiches that looked about as appetizing as sandpaper slathered with Vegemite. The little darlings were allergic to most of what passes for ‘real food’ in the modern world. When they returned home from parties, I’d have to ‘shake them down’ to get them to confess as to their indiscretions (i.e.: what forbidden food they had consumed). Then came detox sessions, a spoonful of antihistamine for good measure, and signed promises to never eat real food again. Maybe if Edward Snowden had been raised like that, he wouldn’t be in the mess he’s now in with the NSA. But I digress.

As the kids grew older, they were able to tolerate more in the way of ‘junk food’. And they enjoyed it. Until Gill got scurvy at university…and Crohn’s. The other two discovered that they really felt better when on the weirdly healthy regimen I had begun.  Vindication! And interestingly enough, it would appear that much of the world has caught up with me. Allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy sensitivities are now becoming the norm. While other moms struggle with finding suitable food, I am ahead of the curve, dare I claim visionary status? I am the one passing on recipes to other desperate moms. Who’s golden now? I am now asked for certain special dishes and others rave about my selection of revised/adulterated/doctored recipes.

And Crazy D’s first request, after being released from the African jungles, is for a pot of my chicken soup. It may be good for his soul, but it’s immeasurably better for mine!