Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good food from a good place

My god, I haven't been around here for a while. I feel like I should buy everyone a round of drinks and invent some excuses that won't be taken seriously because we'll all be too hammered to be paying any attention.

Things have just gotten behind here and I haven't been able to spend as much time online as I used to. The chittlins have taken to "cooking": Emptying out bottles of oil, vanilla, hot sauce, maple syrup, you name it, into whatever bowl or bowl-shaped item available, stirring, and pronouncing it dinner. Fortunately, they make no demands on me to eat it, with the only exception being the hot sauce/leftover breakfast milk/yogurt/cider vinegar "smooth" they made for Jerry and insisted I save for him to drink when he got home. Let me tell you, had they insisted, he would have choked some of it down for them. :-)

I went through a bit of a kitchen funk recently, even though I did do a complete tear-through, rearranging appliances, baking jars, and cupboards. I weeded and sorted and tossed and I'm actually quite pleased with how much space in which I now have to work. But I haven't felt much like working. Jandar has been home several days a week for a while now and it got to the point where almost every night dinner was a cheese plate and soda. Not very healthy after a while and deadly dull rather quickly, even with the different kinds of cheeses I usually hoarde. The chittlins didn't fare much better as they were existing on Pop Tarts, fruit, and dry cereal, I think instinctively knowing that I was out of sorts but would soon be back to my old self.

And that finally, finally happened this last weekend. I got sick of the sluggish feeling, the bloat that made the jeans I worked so hard to fit in no longer agreeable, and the lack of proper sleep. The exteme guilt that plagued me, feeding the boys utter crap. My poor husband mightily slogging through yet another half-assed, thrown-together plate of food. Not a meal, quite literally, a plate of whatever I could find that was edible, tossed onto a plate, and called dinner. Embarrassing, really.

I pulled my Rachel Allens and Tana Ramsays off the shelf; I read my Padmas and my Barefoot Contessas, and my Nigellas--even Martha--just for fun and just to feel good again. I came up with ideas, recipes, and ingredients that I wanted to try. I didn't go overboard; I went slowly, one or two new recipes, no more takeaway, no more chips. Made amazing Asian-style chicken chunks with sweet chili sauce; homemade bangers from gorgeous pork that I ground myself; mac & cheese for the boys that was out of this world. It felt good to be back. We had lovely Greek salads with enormous chunks of fresh feta; soup, really good soup, that I was reminded of by watching an old episode of an Andrea Immer Robinson cooking show; and this week, blackeyed pea curry, which is absolute favorite for us. We did have easy meals like pancakes and scrambled eggs and bagels with cream cheese but even those became fun again. We haven't had a cheese platter in over a week and we're actually eating more vegetables. In short, I'm not killing my family anymore. :-)

This happens once or twice a year but it's important that I not let it take so long to get back into the game. This is where, I believe, a vast cookbook collection comes in handy. I didn't read them for recipes so much as just to remind myself of how much fun it is to cook. A well-written cookbook has anecdotes and useful tips alongside the ingredients and preparations and can be just enough to get someone out of a rut and back into the kitchen, even if it is only to scramble eggs or make toast. Gorgeous pictures help, too.

So, I've missed all of you and I have been trying to keep up with your blogs, too. I've just been more of a lurker and I thank you all for still reading me.

Now, what's for dinner tonight?


Chow and Chatter said...

welcome back love ya

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

We all need a break from routine and Summer is a great time to just let it all go!

My tummy started rumbling when reading about your menu last week. A good homemade mac and cheese is hard to beat and I would love to see your blackeye peas dish(I do not believe I have ever eaten a blackeye pea) :)

Lisa said...

Rebecca: Right back at ya!

Mr. Puffy: I did take pics of the curry and hope to post this weekend. Jerry ordered lunch in at work today so I got to finish the leftovers. Yes, I was very pleased.

Bridget said...

Yay, you're back! (And with a killer hair cut/color, I might add ...)

I have a hard time cooking in the summer, because the heat and humidity really get to me. This summer only started to get that awful (as far as I'm concerned) in the last week or so, so we've at least had real food before now.

Someday maybe we'll have whole house a/c and I will cook in the summer like I do any other time ...