16 November 2009

Comfort Food for the Broken-Hearted

My poor ole kid. We get home from Dash's football gig today and I am greeted at the door by a very somber Mr G with some sad sad news... Dash's goldfish has passed on/kicked the bucket/bought the farm.

We had been worried about "Nemo" (the fishy - I know - such an original name!) for a day or so.

Mr G was worried that the new fish food pellets weren't going down so well. The tank had turned murky green and Nemo had been hugging the bottom and sides. Things didn't look good... and then, well, he died. My hubby found him while we were out at football; he said he felt a little choked up when he saw the little guy floating. After all, the fish tank is Mr G's project. The fishies belong to Dash but Daddy does most of the work.

Now comes the tricky part: breaking the news to Dash.

What makes this tricky is this is actually the third fish we have lost in the year since we've had them.

The first one was an algae eater called "James". We buried him with much ceremony and many tears after we returned home from holiday and found him dead last January. Dash painted his "coffin" (a box) and made a plaque for James's gravesite. He cried and cried, great heart-breaking sobs, because this fishy loss had come hard on the heels of losing his grandad to cancer just before Christmas.

When the second one died soon after, we let Dash think "John" (the other algae-eater) had been released into the wild. We just couldn't watch him going through more grief so soon after his other losses.

Grief is tough; Losing someone you love is tough, even if it's just a fish. Especially when you're a little kid.

So bearing all this in mind we broke the news to Dash as gently as we could. His little-boy face crumpled when confronted with the fishy remains, carefully interred in a box by Daddy. He ran to his room and lay weeping on his bunkbed, my poor little guy.

He didn't want a cuddle, didn't want company - at least not from me. Daddy went in and shared his sorrow, laying on his bunk with him and talking in low tones. Dash clung to Daddy, his partner in loss.

Me? I made Macaroni Cheese (with bacon)... Dash's favourite dinner. It seemed to cheer him up. There's a good reason they call it comfort food.

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon

  • 1 pkt penne pasta (or large pasta elbows) Boil in salted water until tender but not mushy
  • 200g pkt of middle bacon; microwave or grill bacon; remove rind and chop into roughly 1cm squares
Cheese Sauce:

2 Tablespoons of butter (or low fat spread)
3 Tablespoons (approx) of white flour enough to mix to a paste with butter
Milk (approx 4 cups)
Salt to taste
Grated cheese (a couple of handfuls, plus some more for on top)

 Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and mix to a paste (a "roux"); add milk slowly, mixing as you go to avoid lumps (for guaranteed no-lumps use a whisk).

Heat and stir continuously until the sauce thickens then add grated cheese.

Drain cooked pasta and stir cheese sauce and bacon through.

Tip the pasta mixture into a large baking dish, sprinkle with more grated cheese and bake at 180oC  for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling.

Enjoy a meal where no-one complains and everyone eats everything on their plate!
(Serve with veges or salad if you must)

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Unknown said...

Oh, this made me tear up. Your poor little Dash, that's hard. I hope he copes well. You're a good mom.

Gail said...

Nice save there Simoney!

Fish are such fickle little things aren't they? Poor Dash.

Lala said...

ohh i'm dreading that day for us.

Good idea about making his favorite dinner though! Poor guy

Amy said...

This post reminded me of childhood, and I lost a myriad of creatures, from bunnies, sheep, hamsters, birds and dogs. But I particularly remember the grief of observing the grief of my brother as he lost more than me. My mum used to make him rice pudding and jam and we sat in the companionship of sorrow and licked our plates clean. What amazing parents you guys are, walking the journey of growth with your kids, with dignity and unique support.

Sophie said...

poor old Dash. Three fish! :(

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