Saturday, July 9, 2011

When A Meal is a Gift

If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.
Fernand Point
You can be taught just about anything.  Whether or not you learn it is something else entirely.  Most often the things we learn best and hold onto hardest are those  that touch our souls in some way.  
Right now cooking is something that my girls are passionate about.  I can give them my recipe books, tell them how to use the can opener, instruct them on how to properly crush a clove of garlic but if they do not have the opportunity to do it for themselves then they have not truly learned anything at all.
To help give my girls real life cooking experiences, we invited Greg’s brother for lunch.  I told Grace and Lilah I we would plan the menu and purchase whatever was necessary to make the meal.  The girls decided on meatballs with tomato sauce, chicken cutlets and salad.  During our weekly trip to Whole Foods, we purchased the tomatoes, since my supply of frozen sauce is gone until tomatoes are in season.  We also grabbed some organic pasta both gluten free and regular.  Most of the other ingredients I either had a home or were in our garden.
My goal is to be their coach.  While Grace does not enjoy eating meatballs, we talked about how this is a good meal to know how to make because it is easy, fast, and a great meal for entertaining.  They mixed the meat with egg and breadcrumbs.  The browned it in olive oil and garlic.  They mixed in the tomatoes and let it simmer for hours.  They set the table and picked the head of romaine lettuce from our backyard.  They chopped the vegetables for the salad.  Since Grace has discovered she likes grilling, we made a last minute change from cutlets to grilled chicken.  She marinated it with balsamic salad dressing before placing it on the hot grill.
The only things I did to help prepare this meal were: defrost the meat, butterfly the chicken breasts, and assist breaking the pasta in half.  I did provide information again about not cross contaminating your kitchen by reusing dirty cutting boards, or by carelessly letting meat get on your counter tops.  
The result was a home filled with a delicious aroma of slow cooked food.  We sat down mid-day to a meal that would keep us satisfied for hours.  We had good conversation with their Uncle.  Best of all, the girls learned that it is a gift to prepare a meal for someone.  I think we will have to do this often.
ground beef + turkey + egg + bread crumbs + pinch of salt and pepper browned in olive oil and garlic

add a can or two of organic tomato or fresh sauce if you have it and simmer

for at least an hour.

Cut some lettuce, chop some veggies 

 and serve in pretty bowls.

Bon App├ętit!

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