I really love a good, solid family meal.
The planning, the coming together, the laughing and smiling and the bellies that are so full, that you know one more bite will put you right over.
This weekend my parents came for a visit and it was the perfect time to remember that so much joy can come from cooking and eating together.
We've lived about 6-8 hours away from them for the past 10 years. Although I've loved our adventures, it's definitely been hard living at a distance. So, when it's time for a visit, we, collectively, get so excited!
The scramble always starts a day or two before hand.
We turn into a pretty good prep team. I make a list and we tackle it as a family. The kids do an amazing job writing there names by which chore they want to do, and they work fast and efficiently. It's really the only time they get it all done without any whining, lol.
Then I turn on my meal prep mode! I genuinely love to feed my parents. Maybe it's because I love when they're proud of me, but there is also something in the feeling of taking care of them.
Since becoming plant based, I've had a great time trying out all kinds of different recipes on them. The two that has stuck the most are lentil soup and Naan bread. Not that I made those together, originally, they're just my Dad's two favorites and now they go together, haha. Now every time I visit them, that's what he asks for. So much so, once a year I make a gigantic pot of soup for them and freeze it. They pass it out to other family and take it on camping trips. Sure, I could give them the recipe, but where's the fun in that?!
Well, with us just having visited last month, and that being the trip where all the lentil soup was made, I decided we needed to change things up a bit.
Another dish I make that they really love, are falafels.
We even went to this amazing Greek restaurant in Toronto where the falafels were incredible, and he said he liked mine more. Of course, he's my Dad, but he's not that kind of dad, haha, he's too honest for that.
So, they showed up at our house Friday evening ready to get in all those hugs and kisses, and I was busying away in the kitchen prepping all of the falafels. My parents don't eat much in comparison with us, but I treat it like they're a whole other family of five. We had a lot of falafels...like a lot, like I started out with three pounds of dried chickpeas...a lot.
While we were chatting it up, and I was scrambling around with pita bread starting to out about time, I catch my Dad over by the frying pan cooking away.
It was perfect! Of course my joy was short lived. That many falafels, even with an additional cook, took a way longer time than I had anticipated. It made me a little antsy. All I kept thinking was that these poor people drove all day to come hang out with us and we were stuck in the kitchen cooking when I could've just started cooking earlier and it would have been done when they got there.
But I feel like I really missed the bigger picture.
I now have this amazing memory of my Dad stepping in and helping me feed everyone. He even helped with the dishes. And then as I realize this, I remember what's really important. It's the meal preparation and planning and the anticipation of someone enjoying the food. And it's the laughing and joking and flour throwing. and trying a bite "just to see if it's poisonous" as our Dreamer says. And then sneaking a few bits more. Those are the moments! If had had done it all beforehand, we would've missed so much!
I think this is something I really have to remind myself of. It's the in between moments. That's what makes the memories. No one remembers actually eating the food...sure they know it tastes good or that it's their favorite, but that's not where the stories come from.
So from me to you, don't be afraid to slow down. With this holiday season coming close, don't worry if your guests pour in early, or cleaning the house took you longer wish pushed back cooking time. You never know what magical memories you can create with your loved ones around the kitchen
table stove. Thank you for sharing this with me!