Tonight was the first meal that I cooked since June 28 that I had pans, food and a cooking mechanism that was not a stop-gap. This temporary house has an oven but just recently acquired a working cook-top. While we waited for the retrofit cook top we have been cooking outside on the Coleman stove since August.
There were two really important parts of this revelation to us. First, it was suddenly a moment when we were “us,” not just the tow of us being us in someone else’s hotel or house. Second, we were struck by the simple normalcy of it. Our food habits have been away from our normal for months and with the tools and produce they realigned without either of us even thinking about it.
When I went to the refrigerator to see what I could cook for dinner I found that my errand-loving husband had brought home wonderful choices. I was happy pulling out fresh romaine lettuce, blueberries, fresh mushrooms and blue cheese and sugar snap peas, salad dressing and a pork loin chop. I was humming to myself and thought, “This is different, what is different?” That is when I realized I had my pans, good healthy and fresh food and something to cook on all at the same time.
I kept smiling because I gained insight into why we had been eating less healthy than we normally do. We have not been eating badly but we have been eating more simple carbs and more prepared foods than we would normally eat. If our clothes had not burned we would notice right off that the dietary changes had became a big part of us these days, so to speak. I actually had worried about the fact that even with true and meaningful resolve we were still slipping into the “Let’s just open a can of soup and here are some chips.” or “We have some of those organic instant mashed potatoes we could fix. The vegetables are too hard to cook, we can do the potatoes with hot water from the electric tea kettle.” None of the things were bad but the proportion of filler foods to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables had slipped toward the filler (potato, rice, etc). And, of course, since we were not eating what we normally would eat it seemed to be open season on Ben and Jerrys.
I am not saying having a pan, a stove and fresh mushrooms is going to reform a well oiled Ben and Jerry’s habit. Nothing can replace all that stuff in it or the mouth-feel of all that cream. However, tonight was such a nice dinner that we did not even think of poor old Ben and his brother Jerry.
Here is what we had. All original recipes, totally unreproducible since they were not recipes at all, just bringing together of good food and good family time. We were well nourished, body and soul, this evening. Don’t be fooled by the fact that I made a cute name up for the salad made with blueberries and blue cheese that it is a recipe.
Fresh Blue and Blue Salad
Romaine lettuce with fresh sugar snap peas, fresh blueberries sprinkled with blue cheese crumbles and dressed lightly with Briannas Blue Cheese dressing and sushi vinegar.
Sauted Mushrooms and Pork in Herbs and Spices
Fresh mushrooms and cubed pork sauted in a small amount of lightly browned butter seasoned buy cracked rosemary, cyanne pepper, nutmeg tossed with two teaspoons of milk to finish.
Yum. I could go eat dinner again it was so good. However, I would have to pass the freezer where Ben and Jerry could be and even though they are not it might make me start thinking about heath bar in coffee ice cream. Having a pan, a place to cook on it, and having food is good. It felt like home.