Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The Dinner Flow
Monday night, I had planned one of Teagan's favorite meals to celebrate her first day of Kindergarten. My kids hate spaghetti. Yes, it's really weird. Teagan won't touch spaghetti, Zach kind of tolerates it. However, they eat lasagna and they eat ravioli. Jeff and I enjoy spaghetti- however, his acid reflux can prevent him from enjoying tomato sauce so he has to limit pasta dishes and pizza sometimes. I have to admit that I haven't been cooking dinner lately. A good week for cooking means I've actually made dinner once a week- and then I'm doing really easy and fast meals. There are a lot of reasons for this. I hate heating up my kitchen when the house is warm from the hot sun. I prefer to have my time at home be spent with my family instead of me stuck in the kitchen. But the biggest reason is that I cook to please people and when my cooking doesn't please anyone, I stop doing it. It's my own personal hang up, I know. But there is something so special about making something that you know you make really well and that you know is a favorite dish of someone you love and you know that making this special, yummy dish is a sign of love and affection towards that person. It's a way of making them feel special, of showing them that they matter to you. I have a lot of memories of food made especially for me or seeing food be prepared lovingly specifically for someone. My Grandma did it (strawberry bavarian cream, shrimp cocktail, 7-Up, split pea soup) and my Mom does it (Ryan's potatoes, Jeff's angel food cake, Martha's cheesecake)- and I do it, too. Cooking is more than just the preparation of nourishment for our bodies. Cooking a meal is a chosen act of love and caring for the people in my family. When that act of love is met with "But I don't like ____" and "it's ok" and "well, there's nothing wrong with it" and "can I just have ____ instead," well, there isn't much drive to continue on that path. I've lost the drive. Monday night, I had planned an Italian dinner. Ravioli for the kids (the cheese filled kind from the refrigerated section- I won't do the canned stuff) and spaghetti for me and Jeff- with freshly grated romano cheese. I had bread from Scholar's Inn- a special Italian style. I was going to make garlic bread and even a special artichoke-parm spread toasted bread for me. Bad sign #1 Jeff's acid reflux had a big flare up so no tomato sauce for him. Bad sign #2 Upon pick up from school, both kids immediately turned their noses up to the idea of ravioli. Bad sign #3 The bread was moldy. Very moldy. So my big Italian dinner plan was done. Not going to happen. Part of me wanted to make the whole big dinner anyway. But I would have just been setting up the family for upset tummies and fights and I'd only end up frustrated and disappointed. So we ended up going home and everyone just ate what they wanted. I still made ravioli for Teagan. She didn't want tomato sauce so I drizzled on some lemon pepper olive oil instead. She helped me grate the romano on top. And then she refused to eat it. So she had watermelon and blueberries for dinner instead. Zach had yogurt, applesauce, and 2 slices of Hormel natural salami and a Trader Joe's blueberry cereal bar. Jeff had leftovers from Texas Roadhouse- steak, green beans, mashed potatoes. I had lemon pepper linguini from the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market. I drizzled with lemon pepper oil and added capers and romano. And everyone was content with their meal. Maybe that's the thing that really matters. We all ate together and each person was satisfied with the food they consumed. I'm proud of myself for being able to go with the flow- the dinner flow. I didn't need to be best or right or have things go my way. I made food for myself that I enjoyed. I prepared food for my family that they enjoyed. We kept our choices healthy. We sat together and ate our food and enjoyed the company as we decompressed from our day. And those are the things that really matter.