Last week, my friend Chris at Food Thoughts of a Chef Wannabe asked me if I would be interested in guest posting for her. I’m no dummy, when a friend asks for a favor I deliver. I then thought to myself, why not make it a two-fer? I asked her to do the same for me and we will put them both into one super-blog. I hope you are ready for this my friends, I am certain it will rock your socks off! We hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoyed writing! It is only proper for guests to go first, so it is with great pleasure that I present Chris, one of my favorite Chefs:
Ah, there is no time like dinnertime. Is there? Time together, with your children, cooking, talking, setting the table, (and for GODS sake do NOT put the spoon and the fork on the wrong sides). Wait you didn’t get in trouble for that when you were a kid? Let me tell you, that was grounds for being put up for adoption in my house when I was growing up. With 10 kids, I suppose my mom was just trying to ensure we grew up with manners slightly better than rabid animals but I could think of a million more important things I have used in life than knowing which side the fork and spoon go on. (FORK-LEFT , both 4 letters. KNIFE and SPOON=RIGHT, both have 5 letters). I always thought it was survival of the fittest but in reality, when we were actually all at home for one meal we would sit down, say grace and promptly start passing food. This being another obsessive ritual we practiced at meal time. We would pass to the right, it was like clockwork. Don’t think you are just jumping into those mashed potatoes in front of you, they had to be passed people. Inevitably I would get the gravy before the potatoes and it was of course the worst possible scenario, so my mom put an order, to the passing of the food in place. No, because I know you were wondering, I am not kidding. I don’t recall our conversations, probably mostly what happened in sports, my dad is a sports broadcaster and we were all in sports, so that was very important. I am certain my mom never did sit down, she never made herself a plate, she just ate what was left on everyone’s plate as she cleaned up. Dead serious, and the thought of doing that almost makes me wish I hadn’t just typed it and got the mental picture all over again.
Moving on to dinnertime with my own family. We cooked together when we could, my son, an avid, accomplished, amazing, record breaking, (wait is that overkill) swimmer, was always training and so sometimes we would eat rather late. My husband wanted me to understand one thing for certain when we got married. We WOULD eat dinner together at the dinner table. To this day, my son, remembers this most about his childhood. Cooking, eating, and talking, together. When we began to cook the tv went off, cellphones were turned off, and we would turn on some good music and sing along while we worked. The table was set, the food was set out and we would say our prayers, and spend sometimes over an hour eating together. When you speak to your children, in a casual, easy going way, they tell you things. OH GOD, do they tell you things. Did I mention my son announcing at dinner he had a hair…”down there” so he guessed he was a man now? Or, was it the time he came to the table and told us he had a “treasure trail” under his belly button. Really? Where did he learn this? Oh, the guys at swimming told him. He trained with many older kids when he was younger and I am so grateful they taught him all of the “important” things I never wanted him to know until he was 30!
Anyway, I have literally witnessed in restaurants, parents and kids eating together and never speaking a word to each other. Dad is on his phone, mom is on her phone, kids are on phones. Really? These are the same parents who when their kids does something horrible or tragic say, “I had no idea my child was depressed” or this one is better, “I had no idea this was going on in my child’s life”. One of the boys who shot kids at Columbine, his parents said exactly both of those things. Parents, speak to your children, I beg you. When your children don’t feel targeted, or pressured, or up for judgment, you will be amazed what they will tell you. Turn the tv off, get rid of the damn phones for 1 hour and be a family, a CONNECTED family.
With all this being said. I am going to step off of my soapbox, and share with you some family favorites. Please, feel free to stop and visit me over at FoodThoughtsOfaChefWannabe on Facebook. @FTofChefWannabe on Twitter,
or on my actual blog, http://www.foodthoughtsofachefwannabe.blogspot.com/.
You can also find me on Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/chrissimm/
Amish Chicken Noodle Soup (homemade noodles)
Linguini in Clam Sauce
Hoss’s Famous Lasagna
Thank you all for reading. Please consider my request, and may your children grow up as amazing as you dreamed and as successful as they are precious to you!!
Thank you to You Know It Happens At Your House Too! Please visit her at http://www.youknowithappensatyourhousetoo.com/. Follow her, stalk her, be her newest creeper and make sure you do it everywhere, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook!
OK, my turn. I have no delicious recipes to offer you, just a glimpse into what dinner is like at my house, enjoy.
Close your eyes, no wait, don’t close your eyes then you can’t read. Just imagine while you read, a quaint little restaurant. A table for two tucked away in the corner. Two wine glasses, filled with a nice wine, two plates, two sets of silverware, just waiting for that cute couple to arrive for a nice, intimate dinner for two.
|Now I will ask you to imagine again, this time it is a table for 7, five of them under the age of 10. You with me? Don’t be scared, this is real stuff right here. Each person strategically placed so as to not poke another with a fork. This doesn’t always work, as they always seem to scoot their chairs around on the sly, but at least we make the effort. Each person gets their own plate, their own silverware, their own napkin, and their own cup. Generous, I know. Without fail, someone can’t find their fork, or “The Boy has my napkin!”, or “but that is MY cup!”. It never fails, somewhere, somehow, mom messed it up. Hey, guess what kids, if you would get your own stuff like you are instructed to do, this wouldn’t be an issue!I always try to fix the plates for the younger ones before everyone sits down so that their food can cool before we eat. Once that is accomplished, not always successfully of course, we all sit, utensils down, and we pray. Yes, I said it, we pray. Together as a family. It is very important to us to give thanks for the food on our plates and for the time together as a family, no matter how chaotic it may be. Once the quietness of family prayer passes, all bets are off.
Time to start passing the food. While attempting to teach the littles the “proper” method of food passing, we are often ignored. Without fail, someone is going to spill something. Normally it is a cup of milk, because we can’t spill something cheaper, like water. Food gets dropped, kids are griping at each other, mom starts getting slightly irritated. Oh, did I say that out loud? I would never get irritated with my precious little angels. Would I?
Plates are fixed, mom gets to sit, nope, scratch that, mom gets to get up because someone just got gravy on their napkin, or spilled another glass of milk (damn it! Spill the effing water, NOT THE MILK!). Mom sits in disgust, Farmer Bob shakes his head. Someday, someday. Now comes the most entertaining part of the evening, conversation time. As hard as this may be for you to believe, I have a house full of talkers. Shocking to know I am sure. A short summary of typical dinner conversation at casa de YKIHAYHT:
Trouble: But I don’t want green beans. I will puke
The Boy: can I have some more
M-M: what’s for dessert?
Hey, at least they asked to be excused. The important part of all this chaos? We eat together, we talk together, we are a family together. No matter how many people are talking at once, or stabbing each other with forks and spoons we are together. Maybe not every single night due to Farmer Bob being busy harvesting or me getting a well deserved night out, but at least 5 out of 7 nights of the week we are together, as a family. Laughing, talking, griping, and loving each other. That is what makes it perfect.
Thank you Chris at Food Thoughts of a Chef Wannabe for asking me to partake in this joint adventure!! By all means, go visit her, and OFTEN!!!