What’s For Dinner….More Than You Think

 

Home Baked Pasta

“What’s for dinner, mom?     Hon, what’s for dinner?”   

  

 Questions spoken aloud in many languages daily.  Albeit across the room or shouted loudly from outdoors. Words that seem quite simple, Yes?  Really they are not.  The act of cooking and enjoying a meal is vital to our well-being and our relationships.  Believe me they are.  The family meal.  It really is so much about the sharing of ourselves while preparing and serving  a meal.  While chopping vegetables, cleaning the shrimp and setting the table, whatever you do…..  there is magic in those moments.  The act of stirring a pot of sauce or soup…. conjures up images of years past.  Images of long ago that wind slowly through our conscious.  All the family is there.  Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Sue…. they are all there…..  Perhaps a  beloved family pet snuggled in the corner…no doubt anxiously awaiting a spill or two.  Smells waft along the stove, hover over the table top and much to our delight…engage our appetites.   A smile registers on your face.   Ah, another  “remember when moment” sneaks in as well.  The “remember when” could be from long ago or last week.  Words unwillingly  spill out as our mind races over these past events….. perhaps a tear as well…….yet we really do not know how or why this is happening.  We just see how each small act  and movement has such a power that it is remembered, passed down through  many generations.  Yet, this moment, those decades of small moments, all sweep past in the blink of the eye

 Powerful moments are they not?   These moments pass through our emotional self consistently. Being part of a “Family” is amazingly  heady stuff.  This simple act each day is so much more than just a meal.  Perhaps the way you move, hold a pan as you attempt a flip of its contents or the recipes you have lovingly shared over many years.   These moments were meant to be savored, they are memories in the making……..shared and kept immortal by all of us.  Therefore and most of all, enjoy every second you spend in that kitchen ……making those future memories.

There is no need to place guilt on yourself  if you do not prepare multi dish meals every day.  If your main family meal is one day a week, so be it.  It is all about being together, making memories and sharing great food.  Once your family, yourself included, realize that meals prepared at home are usually of superior quality and healthier than fast food and processed food, since you control what goes in each dish. (I prefer my burger and fries prepared at home.)  Perhaps you could learn a couple good dishes and then expand on those. Soup for instance.  Learn the basic soup recipe and then mix up the ingredients.  It is truly amazing how creativity will take over.  Everyone will think you a genius.

Most of my memories are from my married life.  I had no such memories from my childhood.  My mother did not prepare meals for I no recall of her cooking.  I did however, become fascinated watching my friends parents, mom or dad, prepare a meal.  It was emotional for me.  It was not that I cried, it was the overwhelming experience of watching and learning.  I learned that it was about food and sharing family dynamics.  I remember my neighbor speaking of her mother and grandmother making the “best” food and showing me plates and serving dishes that were passed on,  retaining her memory within them.  As I grew up, (notice I did not say mature) I knew I had to learn to cook from memories of my friends, then with a simple trial and error method with recipes.  I would read cookbooks as a novel at times.  The Websters always at my side.  No clue what those cooking terms or spices were.  Didn’t always know what I was reading, but I muddled through.   I knew I wanted to learn everything from scratch, literally.  Oh, if only I had Food Network, cooking blogs and all those food shows on TV.   Oh my!  So not fair!  This generation has it made. 

Today, my 3 children are grown and are really, really good cooks.  They take great pleasure in preparing, serving and sharing a meal.  They will always have memories to savor and share.   

  

 

Best New Year’s Resolution EVER!

 Love Yourself, Love Your Family, Accept Others and Enjoy Your Life

 

 

Tall order?  Sure we can live up to this resolution?  I believe we can.  With the passing of each year, I gain a better understanding of what it means to love one’s self and experience acceptance of others.  This year has been no different.  We all struggle to understand and gain acceptance of others.  Yet, most of us find difficulty in keeping our mouths shut as our first instinct is to blurt out what is usually a remark or a criticism.      Ah, yes!  Patience is not always a prevalent virtue consistent with our day-to-day behavior.  Therefore, making the acceptance portion a bit tricky at times.  So, should you feel the urge to say whatever comes to mind.  DON’T!  Wait before you speak.  Is it really that important to comment on a particular instance?  You want to be accepted for what and who you are, right?  Soooo….  likewise you must be accepting of others.  I know.  Man, it is really hard!  Acceptance can be achieved and the dynamic of all your relationships will change.  Resulting in a less stressful life.  Less stress…More joy!  Yeay!!!

I experienced an “epiphany”, as it were, regarding the importance of acceptance of others.  Strangely enough this came to me via the television.  I was listening to the morning news show while getting ready for my day.  The upcoming guest for that day was Liz Murray.  I stopped and paid attention.  Liz was the subject of the story and subsequent movie; Homeless to Harvard.  Liz Murray was raised in poverty by drug-addicted parents. Though they loved her, they were unable to care for her.  Speaking in this interview, Liz spoke fondly of her mother, flawed as she was.  Such as a young child; Liz recalls her mother sitting on the edge of her bed telling Liz her wishful dreams for the future.  Even today, Liz Murray stills speaks so lovingly of her parents.  Why?   “People cannot give you what they don’t have.”  AMEN.  Liz always knew she was loved by both parents yet their tragic circumstances did not allow the parents to care for the children.   She knew many things about her parents and loved them in spite of it.  Liz did not and still does not blame her parents or anyone else.  She just accepts what she had been given and moves forward.  Talk about acceptance!  That most quoted line from the book is the one I keep replaying in my mind.   She knew her parents could not give what they themselves did not posses.  WOW!  I should only aspire to be so noble.

 

 Liz has now penned her own story in the book.  “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard.”   (She explains the title in the book)  Released in September 2010, the book follows the life Liz Murray lived prior to being a Harvard Graduate in 2009.

Thus I added a new portion to my line….accept others.  My New Year’s Resolution!  Or should I say Revolution? 

 Love Yourself, Love Your Family, Accept Others and Enjoy Your Life. 

Until next time………..Happy New Year Everyone!