A Perfectly Grilled Beef Tenderloin

The other night, we celebrated a first at our house. As I placed some perfectly grilled beef tenderloin on the table, my third grader pointed out, “We’ve never had steak at the kitchen table.”

True. I usually do not make steak when my husband is out of town, which is the only time we do not eat in our dining room. But he’s been traveling more than usual, and I was tired of pasta. So spread out on the kitchen table that night were steaks, a side of pesto pasta and salad with great tomatoes and ripe avocado. Something for everyone.

Then as the third grader served himself some salad, he said, “You know where they have the best salads?”

Clearly Mom’s kitchen table is not it. “Where?”

“School lunch.”

Out the window went my pride for the perfect meal.

“And their spaghetti and meatballs are awesome!” added his brother.

A crushing blow.

“Oh!” shouted the third grader again, “and the chicken alfredo!”

“The only thing is,” said the fourth grader, “we really need Mrs. X back.” The woman who runs their school lunchroom is on maternity leave, and I have protected her identity so another school doesn’t steal her away. “She is way nicer than the substitutes. The subs don’t let you have any food if you forget your lunch.”

If the other moms’ cooking is as sub-par as mine apparently is, when Mrs. X returns, there will likely be a dramatic increase in full lunchboxes stashed in nooks and crannies all over campus.

We’ve all seen them, actually, and we pass them by thinking, “who could possibly forget their lunchbox?”