Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Conversation with the Chef

     I cook dinner every night.  Does that make me a throwback to the "olden, golden days," as Kara calls them?  Through conversation I've learned that most women I know don't cook dinner every night.  I can't claim conviction and a concerted effort to change my background.  No, Bryan and I both have mothers who cooked dinner; they served real food around the table with the family.  That's quite a blessing to pass on to your children.  In turn, that's what we expect dinner to be, and I see a lot of goodness in serving dinner.
     First, we eat lots of real food.  This is not fast food or take out.  We generally don't eat food from the frozen foods section, or slopped out of a can.  We eat vegetables chopped on the butcher block.  Cheese freshly grated when we need it.  Meat sliced raw, cooked and seasoned in our own pan.  I'm not a health nut, but this is what food is meant to be, and it tastes good.  If I don't cook dinner, what will my kids eat?  I'm pretty sure it won't involve a vegetable.  Dinner is good for the body.
     Second, serving dinner discourages picky eaters.  My kids have all tried to be picky, but we won't let them.  We cook one dish and a side or two and that is what we all eat for dinner.  We may not love it, that's okay, we eat it.  Even I am discouraged from being a picky eater.  I ate fish in Florida, despite a lifelong prejudice against it.  I enjoyed it.  Dinner is good for our attitude.
     Third, and this is all sweetness, we sit together at the table.  All six of us (sometimes five, one's missing but the rest of us still show up) sit and eat.  There's no TV, computer, or cell phone.  The sweetness?  We talk.  There's lots of silly laughter, monologues on the inane, and the occasional fuss.  There's a whole lot of ordinary strung together to make it extraordinary, and I love it.   Dinner is good for our family.
     I work hard for dinner.   Yes, there are travel days and soccer days.  Maybe a cereal-for-dinner day.  Yes, we go out to eat or order pizza.  I try to make the restaurant dollars we spend be deliberate choices.   I invest lots of thought into making home cooking do-able. I invest hours to nourish bodies and hearts.  So what's for dinner this week?
Homemade pizza. 
Ham and Potato Quiche. 
Chicken Tortilla Soup (frozen leftovers from the last time we ate it). 
Roasted Poblano and Black Bean Soup (I'm making up a recipe). 
Baked Macaroni and Cheese (made from butter, flour, cheese and milk). 
Bean Enchiladas. 
Chicken and Dumplings.
     Kara says, "yum."

1 comment:

  1. I think that Abby and I have a really similar philosophy of food. We're not health nuts, we just love REAL food, and yes, it does happen to be healthy.

    One of my pet peeves is when some health nuts start extolling the virtues of vegetarianism. It isn't healthier. Everyone knows humans are omnivores, we get that common sense. We can also learn that from the bible. Even for people who take an evolutionary perspective, they teach that the first humans ate meat. Humans, like bears, are designed to eat a little bit of everything.

    Seems like the healthiest food is the kind that tastes great, has lots of variety, and brings the family together. It is scientifically proven that being happy is much more important for your long term health than is diet.