(pictures in this post from my iPhone)
last week, i made a really, really great meal for my family.
we’re talking beef roast, baked potatoes, cooked carrots, corn, and salad.
it was ah-mazing, if i must say so myself.
it took all day for the roast to cook in the crockpot, the potatoes took a good hour to bake, the carrots i threw in the crockpot an hour before we ate, and the salad and corn i fixed in that last hour as well.
start to finish, the meal took a long time to make.
and, then we sat down at the table to eat and twenty minutes later, it was all but gone.
it was a typically chaotic and loud and frenzied meal in our household to be honest.
it can be downright stressful at meal time in our house, if you ask me.
everyone pretty much needs something done for them before they can eat and so, til i have it all served up on their plates and sliced or diced and blown on to cool it down, i sit down to start eating my own food and i just want to sit for a moment to think a sane thought.
but, in this stage of life, this is our lot.
mealtime is stressful and chaotic.
someday, it won’t be.
but, what i really want to talk about is the ‘art’ of feeding people.
my friend Jenny ran a post on her blog yesterday calling for ‘the real cooks’.
she was my muse for this little blog post.
whether it’s for a couple of ladies, my own family of 6, or twenty people for Sunday lunch, i LOVE to feed people.
it’s an ‘acquired’ art, i daresay.
i can honestly say that for me, this ‘art’ started when i was a young girl.
like, 14-15 years old.
i remember we often had lots of people in our home over Sundays, and i Loved to help my mom in the kitchen.
she taught me first with the easy stuff like pizza dough mixes and brownie mixes.
but, i loved it to just be there when she was doing any and all manner of food prep.
canning and preserving completely fascinated me and i took it all in and retained it.
following recipes was never a chore for me because i love to read take up the challenge of a new recipe.
i don’t exactly know how my mom taught me all that she did, but i know that she was successful.
i remember one time in particular where i told mom that i wanted to have such-and-so over for Sunday dinner and i wanted to make the whole meal.
and, she let me.
it must have built confidence in me, because from that point on, i have always loved to feed people.
hearing and watching people enjoy my food is more fulfilling to me than actually eating the food myself.
i think that ‘feeding people’ is a universal language.
everyone has to eat, and i think that people can be blessed through the act or art of being fed and eating.
you know that saying ‘made with love’?
is it true?
i say it is.
maybe it’s not the ‘secret ingredient’ but i do think there is something to making food with purpose within my heart.
if i’m making a brunch for some lady friends, i tend to think about what will make them feel special.
like, would a group of ladies be more ‘loved’ through sausage gravy and biscuits or quiche and fruit kabobs?
or, would a group of 20 people for Sunday dinner be more blessed through me stressing out over an immaculate house and using fine china than they would through using paper plates and eating hot ham and cheese on the sofa amidst piles of magazines strewn everywhere and dust on the surfaces of the furniture?
thinking about my company and what will bless them is HUGE to me.
if i put thought into them and what i really want to accomplish by their being in my home, i tend to think that the actual dish served will ‘go down’ in that spirit.
i am a good cook.
i feel cocky saying that.
but, i think it is something i can do pretty well, if i can be honest.
and, so, since i’m decent at it, i do feel like it’s a ‘gift’ i can give to others.
i don’t follow every detail of every recipe to the ‘t’.
if i find a recipe that i want to try, but don’t have every ingredient on hand, i try to improvise.
if i make a new recipe and it tastes a little ‘off’ i’ll try and ‘doctor’ it to what i know we all like.
i constantly try new recipes.
but, i also have tried and true recipes that i know i can always fall back on.
i’m a ‘seasonal’ cook too.
in the summer, we grill a lot,in the fall, we eat a lot more ‘comfort foods’, etc.
i use a lot of seasonings in my cooking too.
love that yellow bottle that is always above my stove.
i’m not opposed to mixes and prepackaged items, but i don’t use them very often.
i tend to keep my staples pretty basic and can come up with a simple supper that is satisfying and tasty with very few ingredients.
you can make a really great meal out of rice and beans and a little bit of ground beef with seasonings and some cheese and salsa.
if you have a little bit of vegetables that you can throw into some water with chicken base and chopped up chicken and add some noodles, you can have soup for supper in a very short amount of time.
cooking doesn’t have to be hard, but i also know not everyone loves it either.
in our household, i am pretty much the sole cook.
and, i’m really quite fine with this arrangement.
however, the few times my husband has made the likes of scrambled eggs for the family, you would think he was Emeril Lagasse cooking for my kids, the way they carried on and exclaimed about how those were ‘the best eggs EVER’.
so, i also tend to think that the same person came make the same dish and both get entirely different reviews based on the presentation and the effort put into the fare.
i say i think that, yet, i can’t really say that i totally understand it.
it just is.
if your style is more Betty Crocker, GO FOR IT!
i think we all have our ‘secrets’ we fall back on.
one time a friend brought us a scrumptious supper of soup that was to die for.
when i asked her about the recipe, she told me that it was something she had bought at Costco and put into a pan.
i would never have known!
but, the thought behind it was what really stuck with me.
she took the time to get it for us, put it in a pan, and brought it here to me.
the ‘secret ingredient’ came through loud and clear to me.
so…to sum it up?
feeding people is an ‘art’.
putting thought into what will ‘bless’ the one eating it is pretty important.
looking at ‘feeding people’ as an opportunity to bless them makes the ‘art’ something really amazingly beautiful.
there’s no right or wrong way to cook.
a good cook is not born overnight.
a good cook is a work in progress.
embrace what your ‘style’ is in cooking and whomever you feed, you will bless them if you let them know they matter more to you than perfection in either the food or the presentation.