After battling The Stomach Virus of 2013 and emerging victorious, I have spent the last two weeks battling my 7-year-old's asthma. We have driven all over the state of Mississippi, chasing her allergist from office to office like Thelma and Louise, minus the convertible.
Emma is an excellent patient and even in the middle of a coughing fit, red faced and hacking away, she'll give you a thumbs up to let you know she's hanging in there.
Last week we headed to Oxford, MS for a doctor's appointment. Afterwards I asked Emma, "Baby, what do you want for lunch? There's a Chick-fil-A here..."
"Can we go to a restaurant? Like someplace fancy?"she asked.
I like to eat good food, so this wasn't a hard sell but Baby Girl had been so sick and so sweet for so long, it was a done deal. We headed to the renowned City Grocery on Oxford Square.
Emma fancies herself a foodie. Since she was old enough to stand on a stool beside me in the kitchen, she has been enthralled with the art of cooking. As I reach for spices to add to a recipe, I open them and let her smell them and tell her their names. We've done this for years, so I trust the child when she tells me my chili needs more cumin.
She is obsessed with cooking shows like Top Chef, Chopped and the YouTube hit "Nerdy Nummies." For Christmas everything she asked for was related to cooking, she has her own basket of kitchen utensils in the kitchen and her very own cooking show on Youtube, "The Very Serious Cooking Show." If you haven't seen it, you are missing out.
Recently we were walking through Tuesday Morning, Emma had $20 of her own money to spend and instead of finding her on the toy aisle, I found her holding a full set of stainless steel flatware. She's committed.We were seated at City Grocery and Emma was pleased to have a "real" menu placed in front of her. You've never seen eyes roll until you've seen someone hand this kid a children's menu. Emma and my mother looked over the menu trying to decide what they wanted. (I didn't have to look: Shrimp & Grits, y'all.) Shuggie, my mom, asked, "What do you think Emma?" "I want the Grilled Shoulder Tender," she answered. I glanced at the menu:
Grilled Shoulder Tender
Grilled teres major medallions, potato puree, fried brussel sprouts, charmoula
Jennifer walked her down the line, explaining everyone's jobs and pointing out the grill top where Eric had just cooked her Grilled Shoulder Tender, Emma leaned across the counter, gave him a thumbs up and said, "It was AMAZING."
"Who's the Top Chef?" Emma asked.
"Well, Brian is in charge of lunch," Jennifer explained, pointing to the chef at the end of the line who was cleaning and cutting fresh fish. Emma stared in open mouthed wonder at him. She could barely walk to leave the kitchen with her head over her shoulder, soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of a professional kitchen for the last time.
Emma grinned from ear to ear as we left the kitchen. She thanked Jennifer and we headed back out into the cold with our bellies, and our hearts filled to the brim.
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