Feeding the Soul

I have heard all number of people complain that they are sick and tired of cooking. I don’t know what to make anymore, they’ll say. I just want to go to a restaurant and let somebody cook for me for a change, they proclaim.

I’m pretty much with them all the way. BC (before COVID), I cooked probably five or six evening meals in a week. I generally made sandwiches for lunch about half the time. The rest of our meals were cooked by someone else. And when I say someone else, you can count on the fact that the someone else wasn’t Bill. Prior to saying I do 28 years ago, he made it very clear that he didn’t cook. He promised that he would take me out to dinner any time I wanted, but I mustn’t expect to come home from work to a sit-down dinner prepared by him.

Who knew that some 28 years later, all restaurants would be closed, ground beef would be close to ten bucks a pound, and we would all be masked?

Here’s the thing: There’s nothing special about my cooking abilities, though somehow I have fooled people into thinking I’m a good cook. I follow recipes. Period. I am unable to improvise. If I am preparing a meal that calls for cumin, and I don’t have cumin, the meal is dead to me. I am unable to look in my spice rack and come up with a replacement.

“Google it,” said my sister Bec.

Having said all of the above, and speaking of my sister Bec, I have learned in the past few days that cooking with my sisters makes all the difference in the world. Having been brought up loving food and cooking, it comes as no surprise that to this day, the kitchen is where we gather. I loved sitting at the counter at Mom and Dad’s little house in Summit County and talking to Mom as she cooked.

Last evening, we invited my niece Jessie and her boyfriend Rob for dinner so they could spend some time with Bec. The weather was nice and we knew we could eat outside. We decided to grill steaks. But we also decided to make a pot of green beans,…..

…..my grandmother’s macaroni and Swiss cheese, and a tomato and avocado salad. By the way, every time I make macaroni and Swiss cheese, I put the plate of grated cheese into the cupboard. Why? Because that’s what my mother always did. She did it because she wanted to keep our grubby little hands out of the cheese. I do it because she did it….

For dessert, what else? A pie, this one blueberry…..


As we cooked, we talked about our kids and our grandkids, told funny stories about Mom and Dad, shared cooking tips, and had a extraordinarily splendid time.

Perhaps looking forward to this helped…..

It made me realize once again that cooking is so much more than providing sustenance for the bodies of your loved ones. It’s all about gathering and creating and laughing and family.

Too bad Jen wasn’t there with us.

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