To stop going to church because it has hypocrites is like not going to the gym because of the out-of-shape people. Anonymous
Oh, what to fix for dinner.
One of the problems one faces when he or she gets to a certain age is running out of ideas for a meal, although running out of an appetite has never been an issue for me.
If our household is like your family in any way – first of all, you have my condolences – then you probably suffer from that basic array of meals that shows up time and again toward the end of the day. There’s the meat loaf and mashed taters, or the chicken and rice casserole, or the pork chops and onions with baked potatoes.
Our meals are pretty much variations on all that. Beef? Check. Chicken? Cluck. Pork? Oink. I will admit we don’t eat a lot of fish. If fish would learn to moo I could probably get in more of a “moo”d for it, but as it is I’ve just never developed much of an appreciation for the life aquatic – despite my Scandinavian heritage.
So, when it’s my turn to cook (yes, my better half and I take turns; she cooks six nights a week, and I get one. I try to save leftovers for my cook-night, but she sort of frowns on that. I think the words I hear through my bleeding ears are, “That’s not fair!” but I can’t be sure, for the audio distortion is pretty bad when the volume meter hits that point), I do what I can to break the routine; I go online and check out recipes for something unique.
There are two things I look for in a recipe: One: something that looks different but intriguing; two: something with ingredients available at our local market.
My personal preference is a meal that can be cooked in one dish as I have no skills at coordinating a feast involving more than one pot. I suppose that makes me a true chef, as the professionals tend to dole out their meals one item at a time. They call them “courses” but, of course I know that in reality they just can’t get their act together either, so the meal comes out in dribs and drabs and costs an arm and a leg as it takes all night (calling it “elegant dining”).
Invariably I’ll find a recipe I want to try but for which we have few ingredients at home. That’s alright with me as I like to put a meal together using fresh ingredients from our local grocer.
Doing meals that way puts me into a nostalgic frame of mind, for I remember that’s how my grandmother used to cook.
She didn't stock up for Armageddon, intending to subsist on canned goods for a decade in a fallout shelter. She would plan a meal (which always consisted of her using several pots and pans – she was a true wizard in the kitchen), then send us around the corner to Loomis’ store where we would hand Old Man Loomis the list, he would gather up what we needed, bag it, and put it on Grandma’s tab. Ah, those were the days.
So when I prepare a meal like that, I feel right at home. I, the hunter-gatherer, then get to work, feverishly chopping taters, onions, garlic, and such whatnots, tossing them into the slow cooker or baking dish – excited to see my partner’s face when I tell her what we’re having. Many times I find her speechless, for which reason maybe I should cook more, but that’s another tale to savor for another time.
Well, life is like that. Our days are often filled with routines that meet our needs for the most part. But every now and then, it’s nice to take a break from our habits and shake hands with a new experience.
Sometimes we worry that we won’t like the new experience – or that we’ll be criticized for it – but diversity keeps life interesting. To embrace the new is NOT to let go of the past, but to create a new past to be remembered fondly tomorrow.