If you have ever scrolled through my Facebook or Instagram pages, you have seen pictures of my meals. A lot of pictures of my meals. In particular, you will have seen a lot of photos of my husband eating food I have prepared. Several friends have taken to referring to Kevin not as my husband but as “the guy photo-shopped into your food photos.”
Photos of food? Why would I do that? Well, lots of reasons.
Social media encourages sharing one’s experience. I cook and eat daily. And most days, I cook for and eat with my husband. This shared experience delights me. And sharing delight is one of the (few) things I enjoy about Social Media.
For myself and my family, cooking and meal preparation is a creative outlet, a chance to revel in the senses, and an excuse to delight in each other’s company.
It’s great when the food is fresh and picked specifically for the meal. (Hanger steak with Chimichurri, and grilled asparagus for example.) But frankly, it’s more fun to look around the kitchen, in the cupboards, on the windowsill, and inside the fridge, to see what there is (and what should be used NOW). Mustgo meals are my version of the show Chopped: it’s the day when everything in the fridge MUST GO, and dinner still has to happen. The most recent Mustgo revealed miscellaneous vegetables (half an onion, crisp carrots, not so crisp celery, slightly soft sweet pepper, questionable zucchini, handful of mushrooms), two quarts of stock and a bit of meat from the Easter chicken, a sprig of thyme, a partial bag of egg noodles and voila! Chicken soup appeared.
Not only did the refrigerator get clean, and dinner appear but I got see and smell and touch part of the natural world. (Yes, I am talking about groceries. Yes, I am talking about communing with nature while making soup.) When cooking or eating, I remember that I am interacting with something that was nourished by the earth. I love that carrots grow in dirt. When I touch a carrot, to peel and cut and shape it for my soup, I am touching something that was planted in dirt, grew both tall and deep, was harvested and is now about to feed me. For me, the pithy songs about us “all being one” become real in my soup bowl.
For my husband, cutting vegetables is not a spiritual experience. But you should see his face when he walks into the kitchen, where the fragrance of simmering soup and oven-fresh cornbread wafts -that is a lovely sight. He tilts his head back slightly, breathes in slowly and a smile spreads across his face. Kevin truly appreciates being cared for (even if it is chicken soup made from things those shelf life was soon expired) and the smell of food cooking makes this man happy.
The day I made this particular chicken soup, the weather was damp and cold, it had just snowed: mid April in Upstate NY and Spring was nowhere to be seen. The warmest place in the house was in front of the fireplace so that is where we sat to eat our soup. Warm fire. Warm soup. Warm hearts. Life doesn’t get much better.
May all babies be born into loving hands