I was in cooking rut this summer.
Actually it had begun months earlier.
The rut felt more like a canyon.
I hadn’t the slightest idea what to cook for dinner.
Even if I had a great idea, I didn’t feel like cooking.
I was tired of the same “go-to” meals.
Usually when this happens I would open up a cookbook or
my notebook of tried and true recipes and find inspiration.
This time, I just floundered in this state of helplessness.
I believe planning and cooking meals is one of the most
creative tasks ever.
Everyday for months, I felt confronted with the looming question regarding
The more baffled I felt, the more grumpy I became.
It sounds so silly but it evolved into this monumental feat every day.
I only had to ask my family,
“What’s the question of the day?”
Without hesitation, they would repeat in unison,
“What should we have for dinner?”
At this point in this post, you may be waiting for me to reveal the plan or
cookbook responsible for saving my dinner time sanity.
I don’t have one.
What I can offer is what changed my approach in making dinner.
It is one little word.
A word which has tripped me up on many occasions and in several arenas.
The word is should.
What should we have for dinner?
The word should was not posed in the question as an opportunity
to make a healthy choice or a not so healthy one.
Should we have a salad or French fries?
The word “should” in this context implied there were any number of choices.
I could open my refrigerator and assemble a meal based on leftovers.
I could reach for any number of food items and cover the dinner table.
I had the resources to take a quick run to the store and put together a meal
in a pinch.
The word “should” began to rearrange how I saw my grocery stores.
I looked at the abundance of choices and the privilege of being able
to purchase many of those items.
I also decided to go back to basics.
I allowed Top Chef to remain on television and not in my kitchen.
Our meals are simple.
They still taste yummy.
I feel grateful to be able to cook with
fresh and delicious ingredients.
Cooking a meal for someone in need is another way to find
joy in the kitchen.
Although it is work to make and transport a meal,
it never fails to give my soul energy.
I want to travel to that same space in my kitchen each day.
I am certain I will continue to be plagued by that repetitive suppertime
I hope to find joy in the midst of the daily grind.
Summer school lesson 11:
When the mundane becomes ho-hum,
infuse the basics with gratitude and joy.
Give the gift of food around your table or
delivered to their door
a soul feast in return.