Dinner on Tuesdays


I am not the best cook.

I'm the kind of mom who went grocery shopping this past weekend and amid all the stuff I bought, there were at least three boxes of hamburger helper and a few cans of spaghettios. And I'm okay with that. I'm a busy woman. Some nights are going to be hamburger helper nights. (And when Linc won't eat whatever it is that I've made, I'll pull out the spaghettios.)

But not every night. Last night we had shrimp scampi with steamed carrots and pilaf rice. And Ash actually ate all her carrots! Hallelujah! Whether or not I'm a great cook (again, I'm not) doesn't change the fact that I love food. I'm reading through the book Bread and Wine right now by Shauna Niequist, and I so connect with her beautiful words about food and entertaining and life shared with people.

Who taught you to cook, lovey?

To be honest, I don't remember cooking that much when growing up. I remember my mom sometimes making enchiladas or pot roast on Sunday afternoons (and she taught me to make those meals) but I don't remember learning to cook a ton of different foods. I learned some by trial and error once I got married. My girlfriend and I were talking about this recently--those early days when we just dived into having people over for dinner even if we just served pizza or frozen meals. It wasn't about the food so much as it was about the building of relationships. I'm ten years down the road into my marriage, and having people over for dinner is still important to me. My list of meals I can make for when people join us for dinner has grown somewhat, but it's still a fairly short list. (FYI, if you come to my house more than six times, expect me to start repeating meals. Oh and expect pizza to still be on that list.)

I love that I have very good memories associated with food and family, or food and friends. For instance, as a young girl I remember seeing my dad cook scrambled eggs on Saturday mornings. I can see my mom's hands rolling cheese into tortillas for cheese enchiladas. I think of eating warm chocolate pie at my Aunt Stacey's house. I think of my grandmother's house smelling like pot roast when she opened the door, and we ran in after driving all the way to Lufkin. I love to remember eating at my other grandmother's large Mexican restaurant in Harlingen, Texas, with the smell of warm tortillas in the basket on the table. Or eating black-eyed peas on New Year's. I think of my mom making homemade chicken soup during the winter. I still remember the pizzas we ate at Michelle's house the very first night I slept over at her house. We were twelve.

What food memories do you have? Soup when you were sick? Special desserts on Christmas? Sunday dinner after church? What comes to mind when you think of food and your life?

As I've grown older, there are more memories made with dinnertime, or associated with food in general. Memories like the first year I made cornbread dressing at Christmas. Having seafood bisque at Neighbor's Place in Lynchburg with Laurie Nutter. Kelsey's chicken squares. Wine at Mick and Sheri's house on Thanksgiving. Margaritas with Nancy. Martha's delicious cookies. My mother-in-law's chocolate peanut-butter balls. The homemade pizza sauce Mel made when we made pizzas that night with her and Jason. Tea and scones with Sara. More recently, June's white-bean and chicken chili.

It's special when you know people enough to connect them with food. You can think back to meals you've eaten together. So-and-so makes great desserts. Or so-and-so makes really good guacamole. It's all about the knowing. The experiences shared and stored in your heart. I think back to the meals my friends brought our family when I had my babies. Each meal was special and unique, because it came from the heart. I remember that Tammy brought tacos (not surprising since Tammy loves tacos). :) Those meals were blessings. For me, food is also connected to prayer. Ever since I was little, we prayed before we ate. It's part of my history and part of my present. I like when parents encourage their kids to pray at the table. It's easy for mom or sometimes dad to always take the lead in prayer, but I think it should be a family thing. Take turns. Let everyone get comfortable with thanking God for the food we have.

I feel sometimes like I make my best meals on Tuesdays. In other words, great food happens randomly. I'll try something new, and Jeff and I will love it and I'll wish I'd invited friends over. Other times we make big plans and have friends over, and meals I've made a dozen times flop. Sigh. Such is life. On those nights it's really about the relationship, since the food is not to be remembered.

Tell me, what food are you famous for? Is it your salsa? Your breakfast casserole? Your summer sangria? What's your go-to meal for having people over? (Maybe I should do a series of blog posts and get friends to share their recipes.) Share your food memory, lovey. I want to hear it.

So, dinner at my house Tuesday then?  ;)



2 comments

  1. A) I just finished Bread and Wine and loved it. I feel like since having a baby we got out of the habit of having a lot of people over and are finally starting to get back into it. That book definitely reminded me of just how special those times are. I am known for my apple pie in the fall - I always make it when the guys come over to watch football (and I join in usually). It's Jim's grandma's pie crust recipe, and it's flawless (no credit to me)!

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    1. Love apple pie, especially with ice cream!

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