I’m old enough to remember when I couldn’t pull together an evening meal. Pre-family, cooking is a secondary concern. There’s always takeout. And so much of one’s activity swirls around getting food with others. But once you have children in your household, then the daily routine of dinner is the mayflower pole that keeps everyone from flying off into hangry-land.
First, it’s the juggle of monitoring what everyone will and will not eat. Then there’s the learning curve of which groceries last and which perish. In addition to maintaining an inventory of groceries in the cupboards as well as the fridge, one must meter out prep and eat times to sync with everyones’ after school-activities. There were disappointments. There were complaints. And that’s how you get better.
For a bunch of years now, there’s been no thought involved. Perhaps a little discussion, “Do you want Marry Me Chicken or stuffed pork chops?” But the deroulement of the whole thing just happens. Senses, especially the sense of smell for foods underway, are much sharper. Listening to a podcast, unloading the dishwasher, and checking on the mail all can be dovetailed into the process that just seems to happen.
What I want to take from this is the memory of how hard it was to learn all those steps. Because then, when I see another, who could use a bit of a nudge, a kind word, a bit of encouragement, I’ll remember all those little steps and how long it took to master the basic task of dinner.