We’ve just completed week six of this 12-step menu program. I haven’t gone back and done a tally yet but I think I’ve had more hits than misses. This exercise in taking control of the kitchen has also had a trickle down effect – the purging and organizing has not been limited to just the kitchen. Not so sure my family is digging this new phase but I am. Last Sunday I woke up at my usual “o-dark-thirty” as my friend Shawn calls it, I started the coffee and realized with any luck I would have two to three hours before anyone else in the house moved. I decided to get a jump on the weeks dinners before my motivation waned.
I had downloaded some of the Splendid Tables podcasts to my iTouch, so I plugged myself in and cooked the morning away while listening to the familiar voice of Lynn Rossetto Kasper (http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/podcast/). There’s something very comforting to me about her voice accompanying me while I slog through the exercise of feeding a family of five. It reminds me of living in Norfolk – the NPR station there would broadcast her show at noon on Sundays, just as we were coming home from church. I would walk in the house, put on my apron, make another pot of coffee and with any luck get a jump-start on that nights dinner. It was a routine, a ritual, like putting on comfy slippers when you walk through the door. With her voice and laughter filling my kitchen last Sunday morning I longed for our Norfolk kitchen – it was as they say the heart of our home. We have a counter with a breakfast bar and countless conversations were held here while I cooked. Homework assistance was meted out and because I believe in my kids head mom is so much less of a threat when she’s occupied (as is also when she’s driving) – great questions were asked, school/sports experiences were shared, topics on NPR were addressed. Here in our base-box I am stuck in a galley kitchen and I realized what I was missing from our old kitchen (apart from the duel/fuel gas top/convection oven that I never ever want to have to live without again) was what really matters, family communion. Since I can’t get myself out of the galley I’m already working on a way to get the rest of the family to come back into the kitchen and help keep me … inspired.
Week in Review
Black Bean Tostada – Moosewood, three thumbs up.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup – three thumbs up http://www.bhg.com/recipe/soups/curried-squash-bisque/. (note to readers: I don’t use coconut milk because of allergies, I sub in evap. milk. We leave out the chicken and no one seems to have noticed)
Cheater Dinner – It was a long day for me and while I was supposed to have made Eggplant with rice and cumin I ran out of time. I cheated and used a prepared Eggplant Parmigana that Jeff and I love but apparently the kids do not. Bummer. Three thumbs down.
Monjardra – Lebanese Lentils served with couscous – I enjoyed this recipe a lot, given to me by a friend whose family is from Lebanon, but it was a major no-go with the twoteensandatween, maybe I need a new category – the Empty Nest recipe collection for when I can finally cook what I want with no complaints (because I swear in the nearly 27 years of marriage to Jeff I don’t ever remember him complaining about a dinner, even new recipes that I tried out and I didn’t want to finish eating).
“Boys hit the fridge” – For the fifth night in a row Jeff was not home for dinner, Wrenn had a babysitting job and I knew there was still some of the Eggplant in the refrigerator (for me), so I declared that it was leftover night. I have no idea what they ate, they just had to make sure they cleaned up after themselves! There’s a lot to be said for self-sufficiency!