Food = Love

Food.

We dream about it, talk about it, and even have television networks dedicated to it. Sweet, savory, or spicy, ethnic, vegan or fusion. Whatever our preference may be on a given day — we love it all!

But despite all the hours we spend consuming food, very few people actually enjoy cooking their own food.  Many will do whatever is necessary to avoid standing in front of the stove. It’s much easier to drive-thru, make a reservation, or order take-out.

Family Feasts

For just a moment though, let’s think about my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! It’s just around the corner and I’m already looking forward to it. But beyond the festive table settings, and dishes laden with delicious food (and the football game we will sleep through afterward), it’s all about the people we love seated around that table.

Thanksgiving Memories, 2017

 

My mother-in-law raised five children, so she cooked meals for a small army. By the time I arrived on the scene, everyone was grown and flown. But family meals were still a regular occurrence. I can’t say whether cooking was a favorite chore in the Manausa household, but it was always a group effort. Everyone pitched in, and like my own dad, my father-in-law did his share of the cooking!

Several family meals became my favorites. “Chuck’s Everyday Waffles” were extra-delicious because they were full of bacon, with a little bit of bacon grease blended into the batter. Truth be told, I’d be in big trouble if I ate them every day. And his fish fries were wonderful family gatherings too, with his own fresh catch on the dinner menu. “Macaroni Mess” was really what we youngsters called American Chop Suey, only there was bacon in that too. Because, as the saying goes . . . bacon makes everything better.

Memorable Meals

Ketchup was always on the table in the Manausa household, particularly if my husband was coming to dinner. (True story: at my bridal shower, my future mother-in-law presented me with half a case of Heinz Ketchup and a can of K2R Spot Remover. It was an ominous sign.) I never really knew if the condiment was meant to enhance the flavor or hide it.

My in-laws have since passed away, but I fondly remember those meals that often ended with a long evening of conversation and cards. It was a time for jokes and laughter, but also a time for sharing stories and giving and receiving advice. I treasured every moment, especially in my early years as a newlywed.

🍴 🍴 🍴

Fast forward 37 years.

Cooking a meal takes planning and preparation, but I actually look forward to it now. I keep adding new skills, testing new gadgets, and trying new flavors. It’s a lot more fun now that it’s not  just another daily chore.

I enjoy cooking for myself when no one else is around, but most of all, I enjoy cooking for those I love. And thankfully, the ketchup usually stays in the pantry. ❤️

Morning Omelet with Bacon, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Spinach

 

 

 

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.

I’ve seen those words together so many times before, even printed on everything from coffee mugs to t-shirts. I truly know what they mean, for I am all three.

We enjoyed a busy Thanksgiving Day in our home. It was full of food and family, and one more recent tradition — watching the National Dog Show. This year was particularly exciting for me because my favorite breed, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, won for the Herding Group! I‘ve never owned a dog, but if in retirement I find myself on a small farm (apparently a growing possibility, if you ask my hubby), a Corgi may enter the picture. At least, there is one in my imagination, sitting beside me on the front porch as I sip my morning coffee. 🙂

But that will have to wait for a future post . . .

I am thankful. We were feeling especially blessed to have Mom with us this Thanksgiving. She had emergency surgery last Monday to implant a pacemaker, and is feeling so much better now. And since everyone was home for the holiday —including our son, who drove all the way from Flagstaff, AZ — we decided to decorate our Christmas tree while the turkey roasted. We have learned that when a loved one has dementia, you make the most of every  moment. Even though they may not remember, don’t miss the opportunity to see them smile while making your own family memories.

I am grateful. We took our time at the table, savoring the delicious dinner and a rare moment when our entire family was all together sharing a meal. Mom didn’t say a word, but listened to our conversation and ate every last bite of food on her plate. We talked about past holidays and laughed at stories from our childhood. My brother and I often search our mother’s face for a glimmer of recognition, but receive only a faint smile. He pats her shoulder and reassures her, “It’s okay, Mom.” She was too tired for dessert, so my brother took two slices of pie to go, and drove her back to the nursing home.

I am blessed. After the dishes were done and the leftovers were packed away, I gratefully settled in for three days of rest. The next morning, I stayed in my PJs until late morning, enjoying the peace and quiet while everyone else slept in. I love weekend mornings for the solitude. It is my coffee time, my quiet time. I purposely avoided the Black Friday madness, opting instead for a bit of armchair shopping and a cranberry orange scone. I even enjoyed the cold, rainy Saturday that followed, particularly because I had nowhere to go.

I have learned that giving thanks is a daily practice that extends far beyond a festive table laden with food. I am thankful, grateful, and blessed for and by a God who loves me and continues to guide me through each day, no matter what it brings. Every dawn that breaks is a new opportunity to give gratitude to Him, and also seek new ways to share my many blessings with others.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.‭‭ – Psalms‬ ‭100:4‬

Amen.