|Dinner tonight: filet with mac and cheese, wilted lettuce|
Like many other Americans, my family is not ready to sit in a restaurant and enjoy a meal. Even outdoors, even with appropriate social distancing. I’m blessed that they realize that I am vulnerable because of age. So we eat at home. We’ve been cooking a lot, but since restaurants began take-out, we’ve occasionally had a take-out meal—hamburgers, a club sandwich, a chicken dinner, enchiladas. We are pretty firm though—if the restaurant servers aren’t masked, we don’t want their food.
I got to thinking about it today and decided the benefits of home cooking are many. First of all, the food taste so much better. Granted, sometimes take-out meals lost something in transportation, but I haven’t had one yet that I’d choose over something prepared in our kitchens.
We’ve had some great meals. Stand-outs for me recently were the Mongolian beef Christian fixed and Jordan’s chicken enchiladas with cream cheese last night. But there have been Christian’s Asian meals and my down-home cooking of meatloaf or casseroles. Fairly often, Christian cooks the entrée, and I do the side. Tonight, for instance, our salad was wilted lettuce—a memory from my childhood. Fry some bacon, crumble it and toss with lettuce; dress the salad with the still-warm bacon grease and about half that much vinegar. Yeah, not good for your arteries, but we don’t eat it often, and it is so tasty.
The other benefit of cooking at home is that hackneyed word, togetherness. Jordan and I have spent a lot of time discussing recipes, weighing what her boys—Christian and Jacob—would like, sometimes discarding my experimental ideas (sob!), and making lists. Unfortunately we rarely follow our weekly lists, mostly because we end up devoting one or two nights to leftovers. But both of us are enjoying looking through recipe sources, finding things we think sound good. The chicken enchiladas are a perfect example—I had that recipe in my “to try” file for maybe a year but finally interested her in it. And it turned out to be a real keeper. Okay, it was a bit rich.
Tonight, however, I have a cooking catastrophe. I fried bacon for our wilted lettuce, then left it to warm until just before dinner was served. Jordan, a bit rushed and frustrated, said, “That thing is flashing at me. You’ll have to turn it off.” I thought she meant the toaster oven, looked at it, and it was clearly off. But after dinner, I discovered that the light on the induction hot plate was flashing. I thought she hadn’t pushed the off button twice as required—but it wouldn’t push. Unplugged it, plugged it back in, and it beeped incessantly. I think my hot plate has given up. A search on Amazon was a bit confusing. Jordan and Christian had rushed off to a birthday party but promised to be back soon, so I am waiting for them before making a decision. Maybe I’ll let the hot plate sit overnight and see if it collects itself by morning.
In light of what’s going on in our country, a dead hot plate is small pickings. I am still counting my blessings and praying for our country.