Comfort food

Sometimes, when teenagers are at their prickliest, what they need most is a home cooked meal. It is often hard to anticipate this, and that need nearly always happens on the very night when you think they will be out with friends and you have no dinner plan whatsoever. That is what happened in my house tonight. Don’t get me wrong- I cook dinner, from scratch- nearly every night when my girls are with me and home. This week they are on Spring break, and as of midday today I was under the impression both would be out this evening. I was busy running errands, taking the dog to the vet, and packing boxes to transport to the new house.  Pulling together a family meal was not on my radar screen when I finally pulled into the driveway at 6:20 this evening. But as soon as I walked in the door, it was clear that teenage evening plans were in flux, that the girls might or might not be out for dinner, that they might or might not like to go out with me for dinner before meeting up with friends. Welcome to my world. As the next hour unfolded, I realized something that neither of them would dare to admit (and I certainly wasn’t going to mention out loud). They were tired, they were hungry, and what they really wanted was a home cooked meal. I needed to pull a rabbit out of a hat, even though all I really wanted was a hot bath and a glass of wine and maybe a grilled cheese sandwich. These are the moments when I am grateful that I like to cook, that I usually keep my refrigerator stocked with options, and that I feel comfortable pulling a meal together at the last minute. (Who am I kidding- even during a regular work week, when I cook nightly, I often wing it, using what I have on hand.  I have always envied those who could plan and shop for a week’s worth of meals. My theory is that if you have eggs, parsley, lemons, garlic, rice or pasta, Parmesan, and frozen vegetables and proteins on hand, anything is possible. But I digress.)
By 7:30 the girls and I sat down to thyme sauteed pork chops, brown sugar carrots and peas. We used cloth napkins and lit the candles. And we had ice cream for dessert. We chatted about our day, and slowly the tension of the previous hour began to ease, like a tide going out. By the time they cleared the table and washed the dishes, we were laughing and their happier selves had returned.

4 thoughts on “Comfort food

  1. As I read this slice to my 17 yo daughter, she's expressing dinner-envy! We love a good homecooked meal, but my traveling husband is the chef. Kudos to you for making a beautiful meal and memory for your girls. 🙂

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  2. Wow! That's amazing that you can do that. I probably would've ordered pizza! Ha. What a wonderful picture you painted at the end – “We used cloth napkins and lit the candles. And we had ice cream for dessert. We chatted about our day, and slowly the tension of the previous hour began to ease, like a tide going out.” Wonderful!

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  3. I can imagine this lovely moment in time, and with envy. I am not good at pulling the rabbit out of the hat. I usually plan at the last minute and have to run to the grocery at least once. My oldest daughter is living with us a few nights a week and I love cooking with her (or her cooking, even better).

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