Today I spent around three hours cooking to prepare a nice family dinner, not including the grocery shopping. The main course was green curry chicken. I began with chicken, curry sauce, and coconut milk in the crock pot. Once the chicken was cooked enough, I cut it up. I added fresh carrots, zucchinis, and green bell peppers. All of those had to go through the food processor to be sliced first. I made salted caramel brownies. I stirred the Crock Pot every so often and watched to see that it didn’t get too hot. I scrubbed dishes and loaded the dishwasher, then turned it on. When it was getting closer to dinnertime, I put some toasted ravioli in the oven and heated some marinara on the stove because I knew my five-year-old wasn’t going to eat the curry. I steamed some frozen mixed veggies in microwave for her as well. I washed and mixed up two varieties of fresh cherries in a bowl and set them out on the table. I got out silverware, bowls, and plates.
It was a huge effort I put forth for a single meal but I was glad to do it because tonight was special. Tonight was different than usual because there would be people in my home to appreciate the effort. There would be five of us around the dinner table—a woman, a man, and three children, just like an intact family unit. Even though the five of us do not make up a family, I would be sharing a meal with people I dearly, dearly, love. The work I had put into the meal would not be for nothing. The man sitting to my right was certain to eat a heaping first serving followed by seconds… He ended up doing just that which meant a lot to me. I received his verbal praise and thanks as well. His daughter practically inhaled her food—also a high compliment in my book. After years of only making meals for myself and/or two preschoolers, it felt so refreshing to cook for a hungry full-grown man and a preteen. I’ve been used to my cooking being picked at, played in, and/or referred to as “yucky”, which can quickly make a person lose any desire to cook. Yet it’s a joy to labor at something when you know in your heart those on the receiving end will be grateful.