“THAT NIGHT I NOT ONLY SAW MY FATHER FOR THE FIRST TIME AS A PERSON. I SAW THE GOLDEN HILLS AND THE LIVE OAKS AS CLEARLY AS I HAVE EVER SEEN THEM SINCE; AND I SAW THE DIMPLES IN MY LITTLE SISTER’S FAT HANDS IN A WAY THAT STILL MOVES ME BECAUSE OF THAT FIRST TIME; AND I SAW FOOD AS SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL TO BE SHARED WITH PEOPLE INSTEAD OF AS A THRICE-DAILY NECESSITY.”
— M.F.K. Fisher, The Gastronomical Me
I first read Fisher’s essay “A Thing Shared” when I was a newlywed and it was the inspiration for making mealtime a sacred space with my husband. We became passionate about farmers markets and seasonal produce, and learned how to track down quality ingredients and prepare them well. In many ways the joy of cooking and pleasure of eating was what defined us as a couple.
Now that we have young children, my time in the kitchen is more stressful than joyful, as my five and six-year-old boys run screaming through the house and my two-year-old girl demands to “help” every step of the way. And making mealtime feel “sacred” is an unfathomably tall order… more often than not it is an endless series of spills, tears, and obscenities (my five-year-old likes to spontaneously jump up on his chair and moon everyone at the table).
So this blog is a record of my efforts to keep things manageable in the kitchen while sustaining myself and my family through delicious meals. Because eating locally and seasonally usually produces the best flavor, my efforts start there. And when I’m cooking, simplicity trumps all else — I never include twelve ingredients when five will suffice. And when we sit down at mealtime, my hope is that if the food looks beautiful, tastes good, and makes us feel even better, it just might help us weather life’s storms — from toddler tantrums to far greater trials.
Because when we break bread together we enjoy far more than food. So let’s make the most of mealtime, drawing our attention to our plates and then one another, thankful for a thing shared.