This isn’t my usual writing blog. I’m in holiday mode. December 20th was Nate and Tyler’s last day of school. Ty’s coming home from Bloomington for the holidays, and Nate’s dropping in to visit more often. Our “second” daughter, Heidi, (she grew up across the street and spent a lot of time at our house with our older daughter) came to town on Saturday to see her family, so we got a quick visit with her and her husband and kids.
My thoughts are full of family and get togethers. For me, that means I’m stocked up with lots of food. I made a pot of Tyler’s favorite vegetable soup and Nate’s favorite chicken and dumplings for easy lunches. I bought steaks and ribs for special meals. I have everything ready to make chicken marsala tonight. There’s a ham for Christmas day. And more, lots more.
Anyone who’s read my blog knows how much I love to cook. I’ve managed to accumulate more cookbooks and files full of recipes than I’ll probably ever use. Cooking and food sneak into the stories I write. To me, food is the thing that brings people together, that cements a social gathering. My writing friend Mary Lou has warned me she’s going to put a big, red X on “food” scenes in my stories that don’t advance the plot. She says she can gain weight just beta reading one of my manuscripts:) But what can I say? I love cooking for people.
I don’t make as many big meals as I used to since it’s just John and me, so when I get a chance to feed the masses, I’m a happy woman. This year, I didn’t just stop at the food for the holidays, though. I wanted the table to look festive, too. For years, more kids crowded around my table than adults, and kids could care less what food is served in. They don’t care how their hot dogs, spaghetti, or Korean beef is plated, just as long as there’s lots of it. But now that the kids are grown, I decided to give away my old, beat-up cookware. I decided to upgrade.
I’m not a fussy person. I have no desire to have anything fragile that requires much care, so fine china and crystal were out. That’s when I discovered stoneware. Worse, my sister, Patty, told me about the joys of In the Kitchen with David on QVC, and a monster was born–me. My husband encouraged me. He was happy when I bought a new bakeware set, cheered when I ordered new pots and pans and casserole dishes. I’m not usually much of a shopper…But things for the kitchen? When I was actively looking for them? Watch out, world!
I was actually slowing down on my love of loaf pans, pie plates, and 9 x 13 bakeware when my second sister, Mary, gave me all of her Christmas dishes, coffee cups, and stemware. Her love of entertaining had reached the designer, paper plate level. Her Christmas tree plates didn’t match any of the stuff I had, but there was a holly painted cook set that would go perfectly with them. So guess what? I had to store my new stuff away to make way for the even newer, Christmas things. Now I have more stoneware of different shapes and colors than I ever dreamed possible.
It’s a good thing I only binge on cookware a few times a decade. It’s even better that I write five days a week, because it keeps me out of trouble. Who knows what I’d find if I devoted more time to it?
I’m ready to enjoy the holidays. And I hope yours are full of food and friends and merriment!