Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dinner Disaster...

Even the cat looked askance
Well, it sounded good: Baked Catfish with fire-roasted red peppers, parmesean cheese and garlic; scalloped potatoes, fresh green beans sauteed in butter, and fresh fruit-- blueberries, strawberries and pinapple chunks. Anticipation was running high. The reality; however, was something dismal. It looked funny, tasted worse, and the only thing the kids wanted to eat was the fruit. For my husband, I added some sliced bread and a Sam Adams beer. He arrived home late from work and was cold from riding his motorcycle, so to him the meal was "just fine, thank you." Meaning, he ate it because it was warm and he was hungry.
Case in point: yummy Apricot Nectar cake...
originally served on a yellow plate on this crazy cool tablecloth!
There is a struggle going on with me right now with food. On the one hand after 22 years, I feel like I should be this cook beyond compare: a real expert, and that every meal I make should be magazine cover quality and taste as good as any restaurant. Most of the time, it doesn't seem to work that way. My older kids love to tease me about my "monochromatic meals". In my mind, it wasn't intended to be that way, but 7 out of 10 meals end up looking all the same color range: grilled chicken with mashed potatoes (or rice), pears, and rolls; or, pork chops with applesauce, caramelized onions, wheat rolls, and carrots. In my mind's eye, they are all different colors and so, when cooked, should look pretty on the plate (my mother inlaw has this down to an unconscious science). So, this meal tonight was one I actually put thought and effort too and it again failed. So, that is the one side of my food issue.

On the other side, there is the reality that we folk are way too preoccupied with food, eating and how things taste. Simple fare is considered second-rate. As someone who struggles with overeating and gluttony, this preoccupation with eating yummy delights and preparing, or just buying, delicious edibles is something that I battle with every day. But I haven't reached the point where like Father Seraphim Rose, I just dump stuff in a pot and eat it without thought... or care how it tastes. If I examine myself, it is because of pride more than anything else. Really. Deep down. I want to be praised for how good a cook I am and what great food I make. Cause if push came to shove, and money grew on trees, I'd eat out every night, because I like being served and don't enjoy the hassle of whining children not liking what I've made, the pile of dirty dishes to deal with, etc. etc.
Yes, I would rather someone else cook, but that's changing
And maybe that's manifesting itself in my cooking these days. This war with myself to be feminine and a good housewife and homemaker and wanting to be appreciated and then also just wanting the easy way out. At a recent wedding, our priest spoke about the wedding of Cana... how it wasn't about the bride and groom, but about the feast. And that is a reminder to us about not only the great Marriage Feast in Heaven, but also, our daily bread, our daily table, is a mini feast, a mini reminder of what we anticipate as the Bride of Christ. And I like that thought, but I just don't know how to make mealtime a calm oasis in reality. I want to fix simple food that doesn't take a lot of time and that satisfies the needs of my family... and looks and tastes good. My children would like to eat dinner at 4 pm. That may be the simple solution. Our family may have to adopt "tea time" and eat simplier, smaller meals at night. Have our main meal be more the midday meal and have dinner be like the English, Welsh or Spaniards. Or perhaps, I just need to start using recipes... and find some websites that include entire meals "sections".

Tonight, peanut butter and jelly would have been the better dinner.