Monday, April 07, 2008

Love and a plate of Hamburger Helper

Honey and I met at church camp. We were both counselors the summer of 1995 and when our tour of duty was over that August we decided that we liked each other enough to continue our dating relationship long distance. His choice of Christian universities was in a town about 3 hours away from my Favorite Christian University. During that long first semester apart, we pledged to see one another at least every other weekend. Most of the time he came to visit me for the weekend. I lived on one side of a duplex with 3 other girls, and the other side was full of boys. So, really, it was the perfect overnight guest set up. Any time I went to visit him, it was awkward because he lived in a dorm and there really wasn't a great place for me to stay overnight. We quickly settled in to a habit of him driving to see me just about every other weekend.

As I was anticipating his arrival one Friday afternoon, I decided to cook some supper and impress him with my stellar homemaking skills. I scoured my extensive cooking repertoire, passed up the recipes for cereal, grilled cheese, Kraft Mac and Cheese, and quesadillas and settled on making Hamburger Helper. The three cheese flavor. Because I loved me some cheese.

To whet his appetite, when he called to tell me he was leaving his dorm, I told him what I was preparing for our romantic dinner for two later that evening. He expressed his excitement because he'd never had Hamburger Helper before. I was dumbfounded. WHO doesn't eat Hamburger Helper at least once a week?

As I was preparing our fancy feast, my mom called and I told her about this newest thing I'd found out about my current love interest. "Mom, he's never tasted Hamburger Helper!"

"Oh, honey, you're in trouble," she replied. "That means his mom is probably some sort of super cook that can come up with wholesome, tasty dinners every night without having to rely on Hamburger Helper."

Turns out, she was right. My mother-in-law is a wonderful cook. And, during those first few years of marriage, I was not. Let's just say we had our fair share of Hamburger Helper that first year. And quesadillas, and cereal, and burritos from Mama Josie's. And Honey was so wonderful and patient. He ate every last bite of whatever I put in front of him. He still does.

But after those first few months, I grew sick of Hamburger Helper. In fact, if I never eat another bite of cheese covered ground meat it'll be too soon. I never buy it, so it's never in our pantry.

Until last week.

When Uncle Bubba moved in.

And then, in true bachelor form, he proudly handed over his contribution to the family dinner time. Seven boxes of Hamburger Helper. All different flavors. All with some sort of cheese in them. You gotta give the boy some credit, at least he remembered the cheese.

Sunday afternoon I cooked some wonderfully delicious roasted chicken legs. With sides of vegetables and bread. I'm no Betty Crocker, but it was a well rounded meal and I was mighty proud of myself. We all ate until we were stuffed and then fell asleep on the couch. When dinner time rolled around, I was not the least bit hungry, but the natives were getting restless, so Honey offered to throw something together.

Low and behold, he decided on Hamburger Helper. The kids loved it and the pan was devoured in no time. You'd have thought Emeril himself had graced our kitchen and made dinner that night so great were the reviews.

I respectfully declined and had a bowl of cereal.

No one cared. They were just glad to have that much more cheese covered ground meat to go around.


javamamma said...

I grew up in a pretty health-nutty home so Hamburger Helper is actually a treat. Lay on the sodium and MSG! I will say it's more a twice-a-month thing and not a weekly thing. Yay for our bodies!

Kim said...

I love me some Hamburger Helper and it is one of the few things all the kids will eat. Okay, well I don't really love it for the taste, more for the convenience and price... but still, it's love.

Kim @ TheBitterBall

SJ said...


I have to tell you...after we'd been married for a few months (a year?) Stan told someone that since being married he'd never had so much Hamburger Helper in his life. And he meant it as a compliment!

I was mortified!

We didnt have it again for at least another year.

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

Oh, we ate SO much HH when we first got married! We burned out on it so much, I'm not sure my kids have ever had it! I bet they'd love it! (But like you, I'd be skipping it.)

Misty said...

thats what happened to me too. Burnt out on it, but my husband and daughter LOVE it, so I allot for it from time to time...

Cheri said...

Is that a staple for all newlyweds? We did the same thing, now we hardly ever touch it!

Larissa said...

That's hillarious...yes, I believe it is also a staple for newlyweds. We had our fair share too...there are about 2 boxes that have been in my pantry for well over two years. They'll probably be there 2 more years as well.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

That must be a newlywed staple! We lived on it weekly - lasagna HH was the #1 choice ;)

It wore off...