I try to cook dinner three times a week. Because I have a little that may or may not have any patience for me to cook that dinner, I am constantly on the hunt for recipes that are fast and easy. I try to keep a bullet journal page for dishes that fit that bill and ones that I simply love and want to make again (because I will usually make something once and then not make it again. I think a lot of the joy of cooking comes from trying it once and moving on).
Tonight, I had decided to make Pan-Fried Chicken with Asparagus and Lemon from Dinner: A Love Story. This is one blog that has consistently delivered fast, easy, and delicious food. I find myself starting at DALS when I am beginning my meal planning because I know that if I pick three recipes to make for the following week (I usually do all my planning and shopping on the weekends for the week ahead), I’ll most likely make them.
What is also notable is that I’ll usually enjoy making them. On a weeknight. Whoa.
E certainly pushed me to the limit tonight. Here’s a snippet of our “conversation” that occurred just as I was putting the asparagus on.
E: MOMMY, I want a hug!
Me: Okay. Come here. I’d love to hug you.
E: NOOOO! I don’t want a hug!
Repeat at least fifty times.
I have ceased to let these moments get to me. Instead, I started laughing and turned up my Pandora station: 90s pop music. He was perplexed when I started singing Hanson’s “Mmmbop” at the top of my lungs in our tiny kitchen while I cooked the chicken. And as we danced the toddler tango of hugs/no hugs, I kept cooking. Because I knew I really wanted to have some asparagus and chicken and a decent pan sauce.
While I cooked, I realized that my ability not to take myself so seriously was probably the reason dinner wasn’t a total fail (huge moment of growth!!). I sat E in a chair close enough to me–but far enough out of reach of the stove–and called him my “cooking assistant.” I gave him a job, and I kept singing.
“Are you cooking my dinner, Mommy?”
Turning point. I told him I was and he finally allowed me to sweep him up into a hug before putting him down to sit at his table.
Karla Hall, a chef I admire (and a host of The Chew) said if you’re in a bad mood and you’re about to make dinner, the only thing you should make is a reservation.
I could have been in a bad mood tonight, could have decided to order delivery, or eat leftovers or pull something out of the fridge and call it small plates. I’ve done all of these things. Survival. No judgement.
Tonight, though, I wanted to cook because I wanted to eat with my child, and I wanted us to eat something I enjoyed cooking. And after the minor moment of toddler outrage, we managed to sit down together and enjoy a meal, and E even ate some asparagus.
And N’Sync played on.
One year ago: #sol16 Soul Baking Saturdays
This post is part of the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers, who have created a space for writers and teachers of writers to come together. To learn more about this challenge, click here.