When I’m with my kids, I require approximately 14,000 additional calories per day.
Like cross-country skiers, parents struggle to take in all their requisite calories. This is why the OTSM (or “over-the-sink meal”) is essential.
Eating over the sink serves several purposes. First, it reduces dirty dishes. Putting food on a clean plate before eating it is like making your bed before going to sleep. What’s the point? These are the mundane chores we’ve been brainwashed to believe will put us on the path to responsible adulthood.
Second, the OTSM reduces waste and saves money. No need to budget extra funds for Dad’s dinner—most of my OTSMs are scrounged from my kids’ table scraps. As they eat, I circle the table like a buzzard. Then I bring the plates to the sink and feast.
It’s important to remember that a good OTSM is something that you can hold in one hand and eat without it falling apart. If the kids’ scraps are hard to corral into easy bites, I dump them all into a flour tortilla or large lettuce leaf and wrap it up.
Perhaps not by coincidence, meals that I make for my kids also happen to be some of my favorite OTSMs: scrambled eggs, cheese and crackers, and crunchy vegetables like peppers.
Despite all this talk about efficiency and mess, there is plenty of beauty to be found in the OTSM. Combine ingredients thoughtfully in your fist. Seek out contrasting flavors and textures. And most important, when you take that bite, close your eyes and focus on the food. Let your troubles, and your children, disappear from your consciousness.
The sink is but a portal to a better place.
—Dan Pashman hosts the Sporkful food podcast (It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters.) and Cooking Channel’s You’re Eating It Wrong.
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