Hosting meals for family or friends is a great joy, but not being a cooking enthusiast anymore means strategic planning. Sometimes, I spend more energy racking my brain for easy foods to serve than I do with preparation. I suffer flashes of guilt because of my low luster entrees, but I’m thankful people still come over.
While our kids grew up, I put effort into cooking. Meals had plenty variety, were tasty, hearty, lots of homemade this and homemade that.
The family seldom did, or had reason to complain, except the night of the “Tuna Casserole”. The only uneatable dish I’ve made, one for the record books and still remembered. Dreadful music played in my head, and my stomach churned as I typed its name. (smiley face)
Who is at the table, is far more important than the food served.
My goal remains that no one goes hungry while at our home. Now though, menu choices are pretty basic, and meals are simple. And yes, sometimes when the kids stay over, for breakfast I tell them to help themselves to whatever they find.
Presentation holds little importance. Items often get served in cooking pots or casserole dishes. You won’t find both salad and dinner forks on our table, and if the meal doesn’t require a spoon, one won’t get placed beside your plate.
When company is coming, I like to have things washed, peeled, chopped and prepared in advance. If I can’t, our smaller, open concept home means no separation from visiting, anyway.
Last weekend for a birthday gathering, I threw multiple veggies into a pot with a ham bone in the morning. When our guests arrived, I finished it with homemade flour dumplings and, viola, lunch was ready to serve. The big steaming pot sat in the middle of the table and everyone helped themselves.
Note to self. I often use green cabbage in soups, but this time I had purple in the fridge. It made for a weird color tinge, but added nice flavor.
Unfortunately, not all my siblings were in attendance for this get-together, but it was fun and a wonderful afternoon. If you leave out the part where the boys beat the girls in cards.
I Love Family Time!
This summer, our daughter gave me a dessert recipe, I’ll quote her, “It’s real easy, Mom.”
Well, I made it, but good grief, what was she thinking? The fresh rhubarb had to be chopped in the morning so it could sit a few hours in sugar. I had to remember to stir it now and again. Then, I had to melt butter, boil and thicken a sauce, plus mix ingredients in one bowl and others in another.
That night when we talked on the phone and she asked how it went, I explained that was not my idea of easy. Easy is one bowl, mix a few things together, bake and serve. A little exaggeration there.
Don’t get the wrong idea, we eat the majority of our meals at home, so Mister and I share cooking duty, it’s just not my thing. I do the clean-up afterwards though, because I enjoy washing dishes.
I like to think I passed on some skills to our children before I tucked my enthusiasm in a drawer.
They are all accomplished cooks. I can’t take credit for what the oldest has learned, but our daughter and her husband get creative and experiment with a wide range of ingredients and dishes. The son enjoys more basic foods like his father, but he’s not intimidated by a new recipe or to add his own flair.
I failed to pass on my joy of dish washing to any of them though, but that’s all right. When visiting their homes, they cook, I do the dishes.
Do you enjoy cooking? Would you rather bake or make a meal?
What is your, go to, meal to cook? Mine is; barbequed pork chops (which Mister does all barbequing) microwave baked potatoes and lettuce salad. The most popular meal I serve to company is, pork roast with potatoes and carrots all cooked in one roaster.
Name two foods you could live without. I wouldn’t miss avocado, and blue cheese.