Cooking has never been my thing. But seeing as I had three children to raise and they’d all claim they were hungry at least three times a day, I grudgingly became a chef.

Meals at our house when the kids were young fell into a few niche categories — spaghetti, tacos and sandwiches. Of course, if it was their birthday, then I’d put forth extra effort ... spaghetti casserole, taco casserole or a panini. It’s your special day, so you get to pick.

Every few years, we’d think one of the kids might not be smart as the other two, so we’d add some fish to the mix — for a little, extra, brain food.

And with this, we raised three children to standard height and weight. Plus, they all graduated on time … mission accomplished.

But now that the kids are off to school, meal prep is a little different.

Most nights, I’m eating olives, crackers and an assortment of cheese and salamis of the world. And I’m loving every stinking minute of it.

I’ll arrange my little party of one on a pretty carving board, turn on ‘Downton Abbey’ and set in for a night of me time.

And there is no one to tell me that they don’t like what I’ve cooked or that Susie’s mom makes things that don’t involve cans or boxes. For all of Susie’s great culinary efforts, her kids moved away, just like mine did. Plus, I’m pretty sure that Susie drank like a fish after she put her kids to bed.

The only person who has a problem with our new meal plan is the last man standing at the Kane house, aka, my husband. We’ve been empty-nesters now for four whole weeks, and I can tell it’s getting to him.

He groans every time he hears Netflix come on ... “Nooooo, not ‘Downton Abbey.’ Please, I can’t take it anymore. How many years was this show on?”

I respond, “Five. I missed it though because you and the kids were hogging both televisions with ‘Survivor’ and ‘CSI.’ This is my time now. Want some cheese?”

The groaning continues, “Are we ever going to eat real meals again?”

I reply, “This is a meal. All the food groups are covered. Plus, I don’t have to turn on the oven or wash anything when I’m done. Try the genoa salami. It is sooo good.”

He asks, “So we are going to be eating appetizers and watching British shows until we die now?”

I hit pause, so as not to miss a minute of my new favorite show. “No silly. When the kids come home for the holidays, I’ll make a casserole. But until then, I have an assortment of cereals for you to choose from and Ben & Jerry’s in the fridge.”

And they said empty-nesting would be hard. I’m pretty sure I’m going to excel at it.

Telling Tales is written by Wilson County’s Angel Kane and Becky Andrews.

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