Crap! What am I doing? I just caught myself breaking every single goal established here by me. Right here at the very end of the month. It snuck up on me. It was over so quick!
The rest of my peeps left town at 4:30 pm. I’m home alone, sick. So in retrospect I feel like it’s ok to have scarfed down a spicy warm indian burrito on the couch with the TV on and computer humming. I would have made terrible company tonight anyways. And although I have some really good friends, I wouldn’t want to impose my current affliction on them simply to have dinner company. Plus, big confession here, I kinda liked it.
Ever since i was a kid being sick meant you got to break the rules. My mom gave me soda for tummy aches, i could watch tv, and lay around on the couch. I didnt have to join the family at the dinner table, although i missed it. Mom would also follow me around with a can of lysol. Ha! Moms. Anyways, it almost seemed natural to have had a night “off”.
Tonight’s dinner was preceded by a surprise dinner guest on Wed and a long awaited extended family dinner in Greensboro. Every thursday night for at least the last 15 years my Great Aunt has cooked a BIG meal and anyone who can goes. We average 10, and this includes cousins, parents, siblings, and family friends. I rarely get to go, but this month i had to find a way. Conversation is always entertaining. This time we talked about chickens, the Oscars, India, and rediculous car accidents people have had.
Now Homey is telling me about the potential snow we may get on Sunday. I think I may have heard it like six times already. It is definitely no substitution for real dinner company or conversation.
Every Sunday morning for as long as I can remember my Dad has made pancakes for everyone. It is the only thing he knows how to cook (besides bacon) and he takes great pride in it. I’ve spent evenings with him when my stepmother has been out of town and he would be like…” so i can make us some pancakes for dinner”. It’s really sorta sweet.
At some point along the way I started doing the same thing for my own family, a nice sit-down pancake breakfast. Sunday lunch and dinner are usually conducted as an in-house pot luck, eating whatever we end up bringing to the table. I look forward to our Sunday breakfasts. It’s the only meal 0f the week that I dont have to plan for. I know exactly what we are having and I enjoy making it. It is also the only day of the week that we can do breakfast together. The extent of our conversation depends on how long each of us has been up and how much coffee has been consumed beforehand. Even when we eat our pancakes in silence it’s just nice to be starting our day together, at the table.
I seem to have fallen off the blog wagon. It didnt hurt, but I m having a hard time putting my thoughts together. It has been a very busy week.
Sunday involved an awesome potluck. The intent was to taste the stews and casseroles everyone brought and then fill up containers with everyone elses stuff so that you have an assortment of things to eat throughout the week. But…everything was so delicious it got gobbled up at the party. I sat at a table with my family and lots of people I had a great time getting to know. Recipes were exchanged and I will have to share a few here. And I scored the ONE album that has been missing from my collection for almost 10 years. Ive just been too cheap to buy it.
Monday my sister and brother came over for some non-vegan vegan lasagna. I subbed this tofu mixture for ricotta but used dairy cheese for everything else. It’s yummy. My bro and sis have been triangulating here with me for the past two years and have only gotten together once. Sister lives in CH and Bro lives in Raleigh, I live in Durham. It was really nice to have them over . We usually just get to hang out at family gatherings. It’s time to change that. Since our house is tiny we converted our laps into tables and ate in the livingroom. It was a lot of fun. Even my husband commented several times on how much he enjoyed having them over. We decided to make this a monthly event.
The last three nights were eat and run. Ive felt guilty about not being able to take my time and make a good meal with love. I truly believe in the passing along of emotions in cooking. We have been able to eat at our kitchen table and have had some really fun conversations, though. My husband is planning a big spring break trip, which has been the main topic of conversation lately. I had to make an exception last night due to my husbands preoccupation with Carolina basketball. He ate with friends and my daughter and I ate at home . We had pizza. She cracks me up. It was a gift eating together, hearing her funny stories about all the silly stuff she likes to eat (chocolate chip bacon?) and what she did that day. Being a working mom, it made me realize how much I really need to make more time for moments like that. Time to just soak her up.
Saturday I hope to make up for this weeks craziness. I want to take my time and plan out a really great meal for everyone, cook it with love, and eat it slow.
I must say that I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts this first week. It’s been really fun meeting everyone and hearing about how things are going. I love all of the positive energy here.
In summary, my first week has gone really well. At least, according to somewhat planned. Well, ok, so I’ve followed my rules. My family has eaten together every night except for Wed. and i managed to have dinner that night with my daughter and neighbor. And on the first night of February I managed to double up: first eating with my family and then preparing a huge meal with good friends and sharing it with them and the good people who rely on such volunteers at the Rescue Mission.
In-between nights have been identical to each other. I rush home, excited to put down a meal made from a new recipe, and enjoy 20 minutes of complaining from a three year old going through a food crisis. While slightly annoying, i find her excuses quite entertaining. Last night I made Karens peanut noodles (amazing), which my daughter refused to eat because peanut butter DOES NOT go on noodles. It goes on jelly sandwiches, Mom! How could I have missed that? This new fusion totally blew her mind.
As I head into the next week I am looking forward to a potluck tomorrow night, dinner with my brother and sister Monday, and who knows what else. I also hope to find a recipe that will totally rock my daughters world, in a good way. Any suggestions?
It was awkward. Totally uncomfortable. For a person of my social ineptitude inviting someone that I really do not know over for dinner felt like skinny dipping for the first time, exposing myself and taking a dive. I did not realize until that moment how afraid I am of that exposure. Of letting people get to know me, of forming a new (dare I say) relationship. But there I was, watching the words fall out of my mouth in slow motion: “Hey, wooouuuldd youuuu likkke toooo commme ovvvveeer ffooor diiinner???”.
I see my neighbors in passing. We say hello, have light conversation, and continue on with whatever. Most of the time our dogs socialize with each other more than their human counterparts. I decided that through my involvement here I will try to change that. So, when my neighbor’s dogs came over to play I popped the question. And she said yes!!
Tonight was the night. I had thought about it all day. What would we talk about? What if she’s as shy as me? What if I offend her in one of my feminist politico tyraids? What if, what if, what if…We were going to have quesadillas and I hoped she drinks because I could have really used one.
Bum, bum, bum…enter my “oh shit” moment. As I pull into the driveway I realize that the house is locked and my keys are inside. My husband will not be home until 9pm. We have to cancel dinner. Dissappointment sinks in. When my daughter and i arrive at my neighbor’s door she says “dont worry Im really good at breaking into things”. Hmmm… She comes over and I learn that my house is lock-picker safe. Whew.
She ends up inviting us over to her place for spaghetti, and I spend the next 3.5 hours at her table getting to know a really cool person. Now tyraids, no lull, just good conversation and a chance to really get to know someone. Im glad I took that first step early on in this experimonth.
Our kitchen table is always a mess. We hardly ever get to put down a meal without having to really clear the table first. So, Ive been thinking (probably waaaay too much) that since our table is the star of the show here I need to treat it as such. For the next 25 days I will do my best to treat it like the food altar that it is. No more 3 day old spaghetti sauce stains, half-full glasses that sit around all day, or toys. Once any meal is over I will wave my magic wand ( or sponge really) and make it shine. A clean table makes for a peaceful kitchen.
before no more!
Part One begins at my kitchen table . It is 4:15 and we are sitting down to dinner. Yes, dinner at 4:15. Not pre-dinner, no appetizers, or afternoon snack. See I had to be somewhere at 5:00 and if i wanted to eat at the table with my family we had to eat just that early. I started cooking at 3:30, something nourishing but easy. But maybe eating before 5 was just a bad idea. Dinner for us usually occurs between 5:30 and 6:30. Today no one was hungry and apparently before normal dinner hours my daughter doesn’t like any of the foods that she usually eats all the time. Her objections were so loud i could barely carry on a conversation. It all lasted 15 minutes. I had to go. Which made me wonder: perhaps these meals need to have a time minimum for optimal enjoyment and some form of consistency for the sake of sanity. Preparations were easy, sitting down to eat was chaotic.
Part deux involved joining friends and strangers serving and eating at 17 tables at the Rescue Mission. Here preparations were chaotic as heck, but sharing was easy.