When I was in law school, I lived at State and Oak just off of Rush Street in Chicago. It was a dingy walk up apartment across the street from the old Mister Kelly’s and kitty corner from Papa Milano’s Restaurant. At night, massive cockroaches would invade the kitchen and in the morning there’d sometimes be a mouse in the trap.
Being occupied with school prompted me to shortchange meals. Cereal in the morning. A sandwich on the go for lunch. And then came dinner. My staple dinner consisted of two frozen Banquet chicken pot pies. To which I would add a can of corn or peas. To save on dishes, I would rip the label off the can, use a can opener to open it part way, fold back the top and set the can on the burner. When it started bubbling – I figured it was done. I’d drain the water and pour the corn over the pot pies that were upside down on a plate. And devour the mix. Pretty much every night.
Fast forward a few years – I’m married, settled down, job, having more creative dinners. I’m about to hustle off to 26th & California when Donna asks “what do you think you’d like for dinner.” I thought. “I got an idea. How ’bout a couple of frozen chicken pot pies covered with corn?” That night I got home – looked at my plate – and there it was. I realized then — I never want this meal again. And since then, years ago, that old stand by has been off the menu.