Broiled ham steaks with honey mustard, biscuits, sauteed broccoli.
"I hate this dinner!" I complained to my mom as I stood there trying to figure out what to do with the stupid ham steaks Chuck had brought home from Costco. "I don't know what to do with them! I don't know how to make them taste un-processed!"
(Note: This is a First-World complaint. I am, generally speaking, happy and grateful to have ham steaks or any other kind of nutritious food readily available for my family's use and enjoyment. Within that universe, though: Damn.)
My mom doesn't whine, but she doesn't really like ham, either, so she started looking through my cookbooks. And in my old classic Family Circle Cookbook, she found an answer. A decidedly retro recipe, calling for a glaze of honey mustard, a coating of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, and a quick broil. She said, "Do this. I'll get some canned pineapple."
"I don't want any gross canned pineapple! I hate this dinner!" I moaned as I peeled the ham steaks out of their slimy vacuum pack and brushed on gloppy mustard and scattered breadcrumbs all over the kitchen. "What a mess!" It didn't help that in the middle of trying to make the biscuits, I was doing laundry from an unfortunate toddler-related incident this afternoon and talking Josh down off the ledge after he messed up his math homework in magic marker. (Alex, it must be said, was a cheerful delight, hollering "Back in the U.S.S.R." while he built Legos.)
"I hate this dinner! Never buy ham again! It's not even going to be ready on time!" I snarled at Chuck when he came home from work. "Don't worry about it," he soothed. "It smells pretty good."
You know something? It was really, really good. The children ate almost the whole can of pineapple rings and even ate the broccoli. Everyone had seconds on the ham, proving that mid-'80s recipes from Family Circle are unequaled in human history, and confirming that my mother knows more than I ever will about feeding a family. I stand corrected and chastened. With a new appreciation of ham steak.