Sunday, March 5, 2017
For most of the past fifteen years, I have made a concentrated effort to cook healthy meals for my family most nights of the week. I buy lots of fresh produce and lean meats. I cook from scratch. My knife skills are pretty good for an amateur.
Most nights our meals look like this:
I spend time on Friday evenings going through cookbooks and Pinterest pins to plan my meals for the week, then head to the grocery store on Saturday or Sunday. I find that if I invest this time over the weekend, I'm more likely to cook throughout the week.
I won't lie; there are still nights when I throw frozen chicken Kievs in the oven and call it a night. Or I'll make Polish sausage and pierogi and maybe a veg. There are nights when we call for Thai delivery.
But most of the time I find myself in the kitchen at 6pm, wielding my knives and my skillets, making dinner for my family.
I don't mind it, really. I find cooking relaxing most of the time, especially if I know I have all of the ingredients on hand. Chopping vegetables for sauteeing or steaming is kind of like meditating for me. I sometimes have music on or the news in the background (no TV in my kitchen), but this is time when I let my mind wander and think about my day. Sometimes the recipes bring back memories of family dinners past, when my girls were little and they ate pretty much anything I cooked because they wanted dessert later. Sometimes the memories are even older, when I was little and my grandfather would make ribs or a beef tenderloin on his giant Weber kettle while my grandma made salad and twice-baked potatoes in the kitchen.
I think about her, too, when I make meatloaf WITH ketchup on it. But I don't burn the bottom.
For me, food is wrapped up in emotion and memories, as I suspect it is for many people. So many traditions have food at their center, and ours are no different: cinnamon rolls on Easter morning; coffee cake on Christmas morning; a chocolate-frosted lamb cake for Easter dinner at my in-laws. I look forward to seeing what traditions my girls carry on with them when they have families of their own.
But the best part of making dinner? If I cook, the other three clean up!