3 delicious back-to-school treats for Chicago parents

This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 5-year-old daughter Viva, who is so over preschool.

Back-to-school time is an emotional mixed bag. The good: the kids are back in school and a solid three quarters of your parenting responsibilities have been outsourced to teachers. The bad: your child is a year older, and a year further into resenting you and distancing themselves from you as you careen another year closer to the six foot deep hole that will soon swallow you forever. A mixed bag.

This is the time of year when millions of Chicago parents will take one shiny photo of their children on the stoop sporting brand new backpacks and broad smiles. These photos represent a crystalline moment in your familial life which will be posted to Facebook to proudly declare to your friends that your progeny are blossoming robustly. Before any of your friends can hit “thumbs up,” of course, everyone in the picture will have reverted to their natural state of shouting at one another and misplacing permission slips.  

But as you turn the Honda Odyssey around in the school parking lot, or turn your body away from the window where you watched the bus pull away, or pedal your bike away from the learning co-up, don’t just weep the day away over innocence lost and looming mortality … treat yourself. You survived the summer! You survived camp shows and late bedtimes and your pet wetting themselves during Air and Water Show flyovers. You’ve earned a moment to indulge. Here are three suggestions on how to do it:

Apple for the teacher? Feh! How about an Apple Bourbon Smash for YOU?

Sure, apples are the beige of the fruit world, but since we’re celebrating school, how about an apple flavored grown up drink?  It’s an easy one — and you can have this apple-y concoction made and be drinking it quicker than you can say “common core.”

Collect two ounces of bourbon (how about Koval single barrel?), a half ounce of simple syrup or apple cider, a half ounce of lemon juice and a few slices of apple. Muddle the syrup, lemon and two apple slices in a shaker, add the bourbon and ice, shake it, strain it, and pour it on the rocks. Garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick. School’s in session, Mama.

Supply yourself with a “Lisa Frank” Rainbow Ice Cream Waffle Embarrassment

You might not buy neon explosion Trapper Keepers for yourself anymore … but you can eat one, dessert style! Make yourself a special back-to-school breakfast by taking your favorite waffle mix, putting it in a few separate cups and adding enough food coloring to each cup to destroy your focus and behavior for the rest of the day. Pour the different colors in the waffles iron and once it’s cooked, top that waffle with some quality ice cream — how about the peach, pistachio, and New York cherry from Oak Park’s Petersen’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream? Then put all manner of sprinkles, candy and cherries on it and optionally top it with a teddy bear, a unicorn or a penguin wearing sunglasses. Eat the whole thing and ditch the evidence before your kid gets back from school bearing worksheets and new swears.

Raise your hand for an A+ Chicago sandwich

In Chicago, we’re on an AP track when it comes to sandwiches. We’ve got a hot dog with a salad on it, the legendary Maxwell street polish, outstanding Italian sausages and God’s gift to lunch: the Italian Beef. We’re so hardcore we put a sausage ON the beef and call it a Combo. That’s a gifted, honor roll, overachieving sandwich if there ever was one. I was gonna give a recipe for how to make one but, you know what? The kids are gone! Don’t cook! Get in the car and head straight to my favorite beef place in the city: Tony’s on Pulaski and 70th (south of the super creepy/kitschy/insensitive eyeglasses Indian muffler man) and get the BIG beef and sausage combo with giardiniera and eat it in your driver’s seat in the parking lot. Hey, here’s a recipe — but a beef in one hand and a sausage in the other and then bites of each alternately until they are gone and say you made your own combo. 

There you go, a cocktail, a sandwich and a dessert, not necessarily in that order. Call it recess from your diet. Your kids have moved up a grade, you might as well move out one belt hole for the afternoon.

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