I realize the title of this entry isn’t an especially creative one. But let’s be realistic. Everybody eats.
I’m reading a book by Shauna Niequist entitled, Bittersweet. In it, she talks a bunch about food. That’s not at all the subject of the book. Yet in many ways it is. Because so much happens around the table. Sharing a meal with people brings us closer. And what we choose to eat affects us, right?
It’s interesting, as a person who recently has found myself living temporarily alone, that one of the positives about my situation is I can choose to eat whatever I choose to eat. I don’t, for the most part, have to concern myself with what anyone else would like for dinner. Friends have mentioned if they lived alone they would frequent the fast food drive thru. It just doesn’t appeal to me. I’d rather cook. Honestly. Even if I’m the only one who’s going to eat.
My current fave dinner making method is to utilize my large cast iron skillet. Incidentally, I gave my regular size cast iron to my son and his roommate, who apparently love using it. Back to me…. I throw in some vegetables. Maybe potatoes or sweet potatoes. Carrots? Sure. A green if I have one in the fridge. Maybe some kale. Leftover canned tomatoes? Throw them in. Portobello mushrooms work well. Spices depending on my mood and what’s in the skillet. Cumin. Chili powder. Salt and pepper. Tonight I baked two eggs on top of the hash I created. Earlier this week I placed the mixture I created over wild brown rice. A few weeks back I made a veggie mac and cheese. I like to work without a recipe. I like to be creative with what’s on hand. I like not having to grocery shop every time I want to make something new. Oh, I forgot beans. A can of beans can be a wonderful addition.
My son told me yesterday he recently made dinner for some friends. He’s 19, lives in a shared apartment, and has a pretty small kitchen. Yet he prepared chicken parmesan for a group. And spun a few records on his turn table. In other words, he was hospitable. And I couldn’t be prouder.
Here’s the thing. In past years, our family entertained people in our home. Friends, people from church, folks passing through town. I like to be hospitable. I like to cook for people, bake for people, talk to people around the table. Before our family went in separate directions, we had basically halted the hospitality thing.
So again, I’m happy my son, who like me is not the most extroverted, outgoing personality on the block, enjoyed making dinner for some people. Mainly because sharing a meal connotes fellowship and a level of sharing people often choose to bi-pass today.
My son is home for a few days during his fall break. We’re taking advantage of the opportunity to cook together. To make a plan, and see it through. To talk in the kitchen while we work together. And then to sit down and eat what our hands created, together. I suppose the fact that people have been preparing food since day one makes it appealing. It’s natural. It’s organic whether or not one’s using organic produce or meat.
I realize not everyone enjoys cooking. My daughter would prefer someone else prepare her food. Just this week she messaged me from the Czech Republic that she misses tacos. She and I began a Sunday night homemade pizza tradition this past winter. It was a special time for us, even though cooking doesn’t register on her top ten list of activities. Yet ask her to bake brownies or blueberry muffins for the people she loves? She’ll do it. Happily. Mostly because of the love aspect, as she’d rather be reading or studying fashion.
My son and I are planning to make poblano mac and cheese tomorrow night for dinner. It strikes me as the perfect October dinner, so why not?
I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility. ~ Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet