Monday, May 26, 2008

Good Friends and Good Food

There is something profound about cooking and eating with people you are close to. This weekend Robin (my wonderful wife) and I had a small campfire party with another couple we know and Robin's sister K~. It was fabulous. You never get too old to roast weenies over a campfire with your friends. Now that we are older, and supposedly more mature, we add sausages, steak, beer and a foil pouch of onions in the corner of the coals. We had a “sideboard”, two tray tables with rolls and condiments. We roasted meat, drank beer and told stories into the night. The dogs lay at our feet and cleaned anything we might have missed. It was one of the better evenings I have had in a while.

The following morning Robin made cornbread which we ate with watermelon for breakfast. Dinner that night was scratch made linguine with a lemon pepper alfredo sauce. We all gathered in the kitchen and Robin and her sister cut the pasta into linguine while I put it through the roller. It was fabulous. I make fresh pasta, on average once every week or two and one of the things I love about it is it never the same twice. The eggs are different and it shows in the texture of the pasta, the sauces I make are all scratch made and are never quite the same twice. Every time they are familiar and new and I love it.

One of my favorite things in the world is to cook for, and eat with people I care about. There is something profound to me about creating and sharing a meal. You tailor it to match your guests, taking into account each person's tastes and what you come up with is a unique meal that will never happen again. You may have the same people over again, and serve the same dishes, but it won't be the same and I love that.

Eating in our culture has become so divorced from the act of sustaining our bodies that we either eat crap or it is a big deal. We shove nutri grain bars in our mouths as we head out the door for work eat fast food for lunch and a frozen dinner in the evening. For something special we go out and pay $30 for an entree at our local restaurant. When I was a child, both of my parents were farmers and at the time I am speaking were just starting their second farm. Mom would come home after working all day and make dinner. Dad would come in from the field to have dinner with us. As often as not he would go back out and work for a couple more hours after dinner, but for that 45 minutes we all sat down for dinner together, as a family. I never appreciated it as a child, but looking back I realize how much of the man I am today comes from those dinners, together, as a family. I learned table manners, conversational etiquette, and formed my impression of what a family is. It is amazing what a simple and powerful thing a shared meal is.

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