Shell Game

I made a batch of Ricotta cheese stuffed shells awhile back and froze half of them for a future meal.  And last night, after a busy day of running around doing last minute Christmas shopping, was the night I picked to cook them for dinner.  After I popped them in the oven, I went back to the bedroom to wrap up the gifts and add them to the growing stack that we’d be taking to our son’s house for Christmas in a few days.

The oven timer dinged that dinner was ready and the toaster oven timer peeped that the garlic bread was ready, so I joined Bill in the kitchen to plate up the meal.

“One shell or two for your Mom?” he asked.

“One,” I instructed.  “She only ate one and a half last time and we didn’t have bread, we only had salad.”

Plate in one hand, raspberry iced tea and evening pills in the other, I marched into the living room and placed the meal in front of Mom on her lap tray.  She squinted at it for a moment and, as I turned to go back to the kitchen, she asked, “What’s this?”

Even though I knew the ‘what’s this’ question was coming, I still rolled my eyes and took a deep, calming breath before I turned around and walked back to the loveseat and said, “Stuffed shells.”

“Really?  Stuffed with what?”

“Italian cheeses and some herbs,” I replied.

Thinking that was the end of the enquiry, I turned to leave, but was stopped by her next question.

“Are these real shells?”

“What do you mean real?  Like homemade real or from a frozen, premade meal?”

“Neither.  Real like from the ocean real,” she said, poking at the shell with her fork.

“No, Mom.  They’re not real.  It’s pasta so you can eat it.”

“Well isn’t that clever,” she said, cutting a morsel off and popping it into her mouth.  “What will those Italians think of next?”



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