Let's Eat: Meals and Recipes

Days Before Doorknob

I was making up the bed and I let out a muffled, feminine poot.

“Safety!” I shouted reflexively, before I realized that Bill was at work, the boys were at school, and my toot wasn’t placing me in physical danger.

In the days before Doorknob, flatulence was followed by an “excuse me” or the proclamation, “I farted!” followed by peals of laughter by the small boys who are amused by such things.

And then testosterone poisoned our house, Doorknob was discovered and our way of dealing with farts underwent a radical change.

One night I was reading the movie reviews in my New Yorker when I heard squealing in the den where Bill and the boys were enjoying a rare night of TV.  There was giggling and scuffling and shouts of “Doorknob!” and “Safety! and “I smelled it”! and “I touched the doorknob!  I’m safe!”

What was going on in there?” I asked when everyone was tucked in and Bill settled into bed.

“It’s the greatest game ever,” he said with satisfaction.  “I don’t know if Finn invented it or heard about it at school, but someone is a genius.”

“Please explain,” I said skeptically.

“Say Finn farts.  If I hear it or smell it, I yell ‘doorknob!’ and then I can tickle him all over the place until he gets away and grabs a doorknob.  But if he admits to the fart and says ‘safety’ before anyone calls a doorknob on him, he can’t be tickled.”

I looked at him and waited for him to continue.  He gazed back at me impassively.

“That’s it?” I asked.  “You sit around and listen for poops and try to call them?”

“We don’t just use our ears, honey,” Bill corrected me.  “We use our noses, too.  Some smelly ones are silent.  And that’s not the main focus.  We were actually watching baseball, and ‘Doorknob’ was a side activity.”

“That was a lot of yelling for four guys.  You had to be faking some of those farts.”

“Honey, maybe barbecue for dinner would lead to a more potent game, but you gotta admit, those Beef Balls can rouse up some gas,” Bill said.

I scowled.  It’s not my cooking; it’s just that my boys are over-achieving farters, in my opinion.

The next night I was browning chicken when Bill came home from work.  Drew had just finished setting the table.  Bill walked in the kitchen and loosened his tie, then bellowed, “Doorknob!” He rushed Drew, scooped him up in his arms and began tickling him.

Drew squirmed and shrieked and twisted himself into fantastic positions.  Finn and Porter came rushing in and stood by, shouting encouragement.  At one point during Drew’s frantic gyrations he almost put his head through the window.  Then he reached as far as he could and barely touched the door to the patio.

“I’m safe!” he yelled, red-faced.

“Has anyone ever bled in this game?” I inquired, wiping the tears from my eyes and turning back to my skillet to hide my laughter.

“Not yet,” Bill answered, setting Drew down, “but it’s likely to happen.  Everyone’s getting a lot better at hearing and smelling farts.”

Later that night I was putting my clothes away while Bill brushed his teeth.  He turned off the water and I grimaced.  I knew he was wiping his toothpaste lather onto my hand towel, although he has his own hand towel in the bathroom.

Then I heard a tiny “PPfffft.”  I tiptoed to the bathroom.  My lover’s back was to me.

“Doorknob!” I shouted, and I tickled him just below each armpit, his most deliciously sensitive spot.

Bill’s right.  Someone is a genius.


I realize the above story isn’t a rousing endorsement for the following recipe, but it’s been requested, and here it is.
            Beef Balls In Red Wine Sauce

The boys are starting to fight over this meal, so if you have big eaters I would double the recipe.  I serve it over rice.  If your people are apprehensive about vegetables, you can be all sneaky and pulverize them so they disappear into the tomato sauce.  If you’re not a drinker I bet this would taste fine without the wine, but I can’t say I’ve ever tried that myself.

Mix a pound of ground beef with a tablespoon of paprika (I like smoked paprika), some salt and pepper, and a teaspoon or so of dried thyme.  Form the mixture into 10-12 balls and brown them in some olive oil in a skillet.  Add to the skillet a chopped onion, a few chopped carrots, a couple of stalks of chopped celery, and some fresh garlic, minced or chopped.  I use 5 cloves but I love garlic.  Cook over medium heat until the veggies wilt a little.

Sprinkle some flour over the stuff in the skillet.  (2-3 Tablespoons?).  Stir everything gently so you don’t break the meatballs.  Stir til the flour disappears.

Add about 1/4 cup red wine, a can or so of chicken broth, a generous splash of Worcestershire sauce and a cup of tomato sauce (not paste) and stir gently.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 30 to 45 minutes.  If you have some fresh thyme you could tie it in a bundle and throw it in during this part.

If you’re feeling especially industrious, make this and something else on Sunday and wait and serve this on Monday when it will be even yummier.  (Refrigerate it overnight.  I forgot one time, though, and I boiled the hell out of it and fed it to my family anyway because I was too lazy to think up another whole dinner and we’re all still here!)


  • Fiona

    What a fun family you have! I’m learning a lot of things to rip off when I have kids (assuming they’re boys… girls prob aren’t interested in stuff like this, eh?).

    And that’s a great recipe — I’ll try it out sometime. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Kelly

    Whoo-hoo! Thanks so much for posting that. I can’t wait til I get all my chicks on the nest to try it – it sounds great. Although, I have to admit its a little depressing that I get that excited over a new recipe. I have a meatball recipe I’ll send you that I’ll bet your guys will love – my family does, and it makes a lot of meatballs and you can freeze them and take them out, cover with sauce and cook easily. Thanks again!

  • Steph.

    OK, aside from posting a fart-inducing (but great sounding) recipe, I have to say that this post totally cracked me up and you now have a new reader. I haven’t found a great funny blog in so long, so I really appreciate yours!

    Another thing–we bought frozen meatballs from a local warehouse/grocery store. We deemed them “tootballs” because, while we loved the taste, every person in my family was affected by them. The scary thing–we still made them again and ate them because we liked the taste so much it was worth the “after-effects.” HA! Maybe Beef Balls will be our replacement for the old “tootballs.”

  • VHMom

    This great post reminded me of when my youngest (now 13) was about 3, and would emit one of those sweet little baby poots. She’d get a look on her face, a Shirley-Temple-“Oh-My-Goodness” look, and say, “Oh! Esscuse me! It was my hiney that did that!”

    Now, she plays Fart Tennis with a friend of her older sister’s. When we hear one of them say, “Serve!”, we know to leave the room. Why is is that boys have the ability to fart at will? I think he’s taught her how to do that, but thankfully he’s away at college and they don’t get to play tennis as often.

    I haven’t heard of Doorknob, and although I’d love to share the post with my daughter, I hesitate knowing summer’s coming up and the kids will be home from college! Chaos reigns anyway, but that might be more than I can stand!

    Thanks for a fun read (and a yummy looking recipe)!

  • Susu

    Does reading your blog aloud count on the school reading calendar?? My two sons, 12 and 8, have read out loud with no prompting by me and trying to beat each other to the next word!!

    You’re also supposed to say “green” if it’s a really smelly one after they say “doorknob”.

    When my youngest was still in diapers and I’d ask him if he’d pooped, he’d say, “I just popped off”!!

    I can’t even think about cooking after their farting contest.

  • Chandra

    OK that was hysterical! Since I have 2 young girls I have not heard of that yet, but I was reminded of when my best friend and I would play “turtle” at sleepovers! We pulled the covers up over our head like a turtle shell and whoever came out from under the covers after a toot first was the loser. Girls can be just as bad!

  • Karin B

    Watch out, those toots can get stuck on a leather sofa long after the air has cleared. Leather seems to absorb them.
    Thanks for the recipe. My husband loves my meatballs, but your recipe is new to me, so I will definitely try it.

  • momumo

    the meatballs sound wonderful – will have to try – however I think we will be tripling with the boy here eating like two men, and the swimmer and dancer eating like boys…

    we play doorknob – and lightswitch – only we are more brutal – you get punched til you touch the doorknob or lightswitch – lightswitch is for belching btw

  • Leeny

    I guess you have to be a good sport like that in a houseful of males! I grew up with a brother who was entertained by farts to no end and now my stepkids think it’s funny, too! You have an amazing family. Well, minus the farts, heh. Thanks for the recipe, it looks yummy! I love it when you post them!

  • Melina

    OMG that’s too funny, we just call out “did you hear that duck quack” or “AFLAAC” in a duck voice.

    It must be very entertaining to be the only female in a household. From “pop a boner” to “doorknob/safety” and that’s just recently. HA HA!

  • Melissa

    My dad was the only one that got away with farting anywhere but in the bathroom or private. He would sit in his arm chair and occasionally let one rip after dinner or while watching football. Then he’d yell “Who let a moose in the house?” we kids would giggle and chant “Who let the moose loose!”. He would laugh and chase us around.

    Good times.

  • Karyn

    Those beef balls sound good! However! Now they also sound pornographic because I just finished reading about how one day way too soon, my firstborn will say “pop a boner” to me.

    Perhaps I’ll just drink that cooking wine and hope for the best.

    And for the record – Best Blog Of All Time!