summer school: day eleven

summer school: day eleven



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

 and receive

a soul feast in return.

3 thoughts on “summer school: day eleven

  1. I will definitely sign up for that recipe idea.
    Years ago, when I subscribed to Real Simple, I loved that they did so many dishes with a minimal of ingredients.

    Thanks so much for the tip Jen!


  2. Yes, I am continually amazed when I go to the grocery store at how many choices we do have, and what a gift it is to be able to purchase fresh, appealing food.
    For cooking inspiration I signed up for Real Simple magazine’s recipe of the day. The recipe is emailed to you daily (free) and the recipes typically require 6 or so ingredients. Many of these dishes have become our new favorites. Happy cooking, Helen! 🙂


  3. Amazing how much difference one little word can make. I love the photo of citrus. I got to see it in person and it is still lovely.


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