I am a little bit wonky and battered today. It was the first week back at school/activities for my kids, and trying to get a new schedule on track has been a challenge. Between arranging homework time and music class and fencing practice (And my own music class! And actual work that needs to be done! And dinner to be made!) I am knackered. Sometimes I feel as if I am nothing more than my children's social secretary. Add to that the fact that I have decided they should probably eat breakfast (and not just a to-go cup of cereal and milk in the car) and not eat school lunches this year (awfully unhealthy, and anyway the money I am saving by not buying them will probably pay for a cruise at the end of the year.) The end result is that I am actually making three meals a day and a healthy snack before the aforementioned classes. It's my fault for exposing them to real food early on. They request things like yogurt parfaits and chicken caesar salad wraps ("Please, mom, with the homemade dressing! The one in the bottle tastes gross!") Why can't they just eat fish fingers and Doritos like other kids?
Oh, that's right. Because I love to cook. And bake. And ply teachers, administrators, random passerby, friends, Romans and countrymen with goodies. I admit. Food is love! Behold the raspberry-rose macaroons that I crafted. Lovely, aren't they? Just a bit. And delicious, too. (Admission: I am patting myself on the back because nobody else does. Feel free to weep for me. Ah, to be taken for granted!)
I've always been obsessed with food: eating it, preparing it, watching others grow it successfully (I have a black thumb.) I own over 300 cookbooks (and use them!) plus stacks of magazines, foreign and not. I base vacations around restaurants and food stalls and visits to local grocery stores and markets. I have mad crushes on Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver.
At university, my Shakespeare's Major Plays class required a final group project to successfully complete the course. We all sat through a couple of days of fairly boring presentations (this was before PowerPoint - although, looking back, that was probably a blessing.) Even the group that enacted the death scene from Hamlet didn't do that well. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Gertrude and Hamlet were played by the same guy...but anyway. I'd like to think that our motley crew blasted through the curve. Our project, thanks to my stalwart leadership (I'm a Leo!) was, of course, food-related. Every one of us prepared a dish inspired by Shakespeare's time. One member actually was a hunter and had a frozen pheasant on hand! The other items were really not that authentic but incorporated things like dried fruits and spices that were becoming popular in Elizabethan England. The professor was a bit skeptical, and didn't believe that the bird was pheasant and not turkey until he bit down on a mouthful of buckshot. Thankfully, that didn't prevent us from getting high marks. Undergrads.
My girls not only love to eat, but love to help in the kitchen as well, which makes meal preparation take about five times longer than it should. No matter. The end result, other than their increasingly sophisticated palates, is also a growing appreciation for other cultures and the unrivaled bounty we are blessed to enjoy. It's homework we don't mind doing at all.