Mama Madison: Eating out for a cause

When ease dovetails with

One of the many skills mother's have in common is the ability to smell an excuse a mile away. No, my dear son, being unable to tear yourself away from the end of an Olympic fencing match, even a finals, is not a good reason for neglecting to mow the lawn in a timely fashion. And it seems fishy to me that my darling daughter can memorize an entire season's worth of iCarly dialogue but can't seem to remember to unpack the dishwasher a mere ten minutes after I've made the request. I have my children's hearing tested every year at their physicals; they pass with flying colors. So sorry guys, but "I didn't hear you ask" just isn't going to fly as justification for why the beds still aren't made at noon.

But in all fairness, the kids aren't the only ones in the house floating clichéd excuses for avoiding domestic chores. I have a million of them. Especially when it comes to making dinner. From "I didn't have time to get to the store" to "It's way too hot to turn on the oven" to "The dog ate the recipe" (or the ingredients, depending on the night), I can always come up with a "good" reason for avoiding the kitchen.

But now I finally have a terrific excuse for not cooking. Next week, August 13th-18th, is Dane County CASA's inaugural "Caring for Kids Week"(PDF). During this time period, participating area restaurants will donate a percentage of their day's proceeds to CASA, a Madison-based organization that provides community advocates to abused and neglected kids.

For those of you unfamiliar with CASA, the acronym stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. The mission of the organization is to provide an independent voice for children who are under the legal protection of the Dane County Court System. CASA does this by training, supporting and supervising volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected kids in both the community and the courts. These volunteers are the "eyes and ears" of "the system," helping the courts to make informed decisions about these kids with the hopes of placing them in safe, permanent homes as soon as possible.

So any opportunity to support this great organization, while simultaneously avoiding the dishes, is just too good for me to pass up. Perhaps my husband and I can plan to hit A Pig in a Fur Coat on Monday. Who says, after all, that date night has to be a weekend? And Tuesday the whole family can do Flat Top Grill. Because creating your own stir-fry is kind of like cooking, right? Then, on Wednesday we'll take on the Nitty Gritty (Middleton), even when it's nobody's birthday. And these are just a few of the restaurants that are involved.

And for those wanting a dining experience that will allow them to learn even more about CASA programs and opportunities for volunteering, the not-for-profit will be hosting two very special luncheons during "Caring for Kids Week". Both (at Samba on Wednesday, 8/15, and Brocach Capitol Square Thursday, 8/16) will feature an educational simulation of a child's journey through the court system.

So I guess you could say next week will be a week filled with excuses. Excuses for not cooking, starting my diet, or for one too many margaritas (Pasqual's at Hilldale is in on the action).

But at least I won't have an excuse for not helping out a very worthwhile organization.

Bon Appétit.

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