I used to love making dinner. That is, if the conditions were perfect. In my young and single days, on our days off from flying (I am a flight attendant), my best friend/roommate and I would peruse recipes over our morning coffee and draft up a menu; hit fresh food markets, a specialty cheese shop and the liquor store; then chop and dice vegetables while listening to some new CDs. We’d spend the better part of a day preparing and making dinner for a few choice guests: sushi, Indian food or perhaps a fondue (but only once, due to the ensuing fire).
Come to think of it, in the not-too-distant past my husband and I would throw themed parties for our friends when we returned from traveling to somewhere new. Whether it was a Greek, French or a Japanese-themed party, we’d prepare food and cocktails that we had enjoyed on our trip. We’d go to our closest art-house video rental shop and rent a classic foreign film to project on the wall accompanied by traditional music from the areas we’d visited. Godzilla and edamame, anyone?
But here we are now, a family of three expanding to four in January (when my 18-year old sister-in-law moves in with us to go to school in Toronto), and then growing to a family of five in May when baby #2 comes along. As I watched my husband eat his apple crisp off a butter knife dipped into our son’s frog-shaped dinner bowl, I wondered, “When did making (and eating) dinner become such a chore?” The endless hours in a day and the ‘perfect conditions’ for preparing a meal are now just fading memories as I sit at my office job, flip-flopping between wracking my brain for some dinner ideas and trying to resist the urge to just head out for some tasty ethnic take-out from up the street. And, unless I wake up a billionaire (doubtful, I’ve not even been purchasing lottery tickets) then I will never have my own personal chef. Therefore, I need to rewire my brain, get off my duff, do some meal-planning and- gulp- embrace the ritual of food preparation.
And so I share with you not so much a list of 2011 resolutions (as resolutions are so easily broken by February), but rather my 2011 to-do list:
1. I will plan my meals in advance rather than by the light of an open refrigerator door.
2. I will actually make something for my office potlucks, rather than run out and purchase samosas up the street.
3. I will host dinner parties for our friends and not make them bring their own dessert.
4. I will make this my mantra: “I don’t have to do it, I want to do it”.
And so, armed with the newest Chatelaine cookbook, Modern Classics: 250 Fast, Fresh Recipes from the Chatelaine Kitchen, I will peruse and prepare modern classics for a man, a toddler, a teenager, a pregnant woman and a fetus- that is, for ‘my family’.