The Family Table, whether a formal dining room table, a kitchen banquette, the family room coffee table, or a meal on the center console of your minivan (amidst activities – not that I would ever do that…unless I had to on Tuesdays and Thursdays) comes in many forms. We all need to eat, and we gather around food. The Family Table, it’s where we eat, where we meet, where we plan, communicate, and schedule. The sharing of food is an age-old symbol of caring. A basic human connection that transcends all barriers and is the perfect gift for all occasions. It can be served with pragmatism or love, embarrassment or accomplishment, health or comfort, indulgence or calorie consciousness, for those of us who may have put on a pound or two since high school (or 20). Throw into this mix the other predicament most of us share, a lack of time.
I have three children with three diametrically opposed culinary palates. My eldest son, a rail-thin carnivore, enjoys a fairly wide variety of foods, very few of which are the quick and easy type of food to prepare. My middle son is very tactile oriented and takes “picky eater” to a whole new level…the six things that he will eat not only have to taste right, but must also feel right! Were you aware that meat feels “fluffy” and therefore is on the NPL list (Never Pass Lips) pronounced “nipple” in my boy-humor fueled household? My daughter, the youngest, is very mercurial in her eating habits. She gets on kicks…suddenly can’t get enough of something for days on end, but just as suddenly, is done with it. What was a favorite last week could very well be on the NPL list this week. The trick is – I have to figure out these food mood swings with a crystal ball. I have to admit, my crystal ball skills are dead on arrival. When I offer said daughter something that was a favorite only moments before, she looks at me like she can’t believe the dregs of humanity she must deal with…and with an exaggerated sigh must explain to me how far off base I am…again. My husband emphasizes healthy and tasty! Sound familiar?
With limited success, I take these various desires to heart when preparing a meal…it is a neat trick indeed to come up with something that pleases my family’s diverse tastes: a high wire act with multiple and divergent wish lists, leaving me paralyzed with indecision. And so, I revert to one of my “Go-To” meals – a meal that with very few modifications and accommodations can fit everyone’s cravings. I have about three of these recipes. I use them over and over…and over. Initially, I queried my friends regarding their “go-to” meals as a way to gather more recipes to add to my short list! However, the more I ruminated on the subject of food and how it relates to my life and my family, the topic expanded to my relationship with food and friends, and food and life, and food being a recurring theme of conversation with my friends, and the myriad life events where we break bread and share food and our stories…the more I realized that these stories and recipes need to be shared. And so – this blog is born – a sharing of life and food.