I was always the last kid picked up from day care.
I know, I know. My poor mother is rolling her eyes, having endured years of therapy and yelling and guilt over such unforgivable acts as like, having a job when I was a kid.
But still. I was always the last kid picked up from day care.
My entire life.
And among the many things I desperately desired as a child was a mom who was waiting in a minivan in the school parking lot at 3pm, ready to drive me home to the brand name foods and after school programming I was never allowed to enjoy.
I didn’t want cookies made from scratch. I wanted them from that forbidden tube.
There was no Kraft in the Spotswood household. We had $9 mustard and weird cheese and leftover osso bucco.
And lots of babysitters.
But no Kraft.
Okay, seriously mom. I’m over it.
Now a big food snob myself, my adult fridge is shockingly similar to the one I grew up with. Right down to the mustard. However, on occasion, I’ll see those once forbidden middle-American brand name items and be unable to help myself.
Which is why I made Hamburger Helper yesterday.
First of all, it was only $2.
Second of all, I picked what I deemed the classiest of their many flavors: Four Cheese Lasagna. It even had Italian flag clip art on the box. Obviously, authentic.
So basically all you need for Hamburger Helper is the $2 box of chemicals and a pound of ground chuck.
Mikey sat in the living room studying for his big, boring test.
“Are you making snacks???”
“Yes! I’m making Hamburger Helper.”
“Ewwww. Make me some.”
So once you brown your chuck, you’re supposed to add 2 cups of hot water, 2 cups of milk, the bag of “noodles” they give you, and the cheese powder of death. Then you stir it all together and let it simmer for 14 minutes.
I jazzed it up by adding fresh garlic. Because, you know, I’m all gourmet and shit.
After 14 minutes, you’ve basically got yourself a big pan of vomit which looks nothing like either the commercials or the picture on the box. I served up two steaming bowls of said vomit and Mikey and I dove in.
Imagine track meet nacho cheese mixed with chewed hamburger. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating. That’s pretty accurate.
All I could think of were those ads from my childhood of happy honky families, oblivious to Chinese food and brie while cheerily sitting down to Hamburger Helper after dad gets home from his big job as the sole breadwinner.
They didn’t even have salad.
Mikey looked up from his bowl. “This is not helping the hamburger.”
“Yeah, they should call it Hamburger Ruiner.”
Never mind, mom. I get it…