Monday, December 1, 2008

Varying degrees of homemade

You may remember my lament about only bringing the sodas to my in-laws'. Well, for future reference, do not complain about only having to bring sodas. Complaining will only lead to a responsibility for more time-consuming, stressful endeavors. Trust me. So, I "volunteered" to make green beans by my husband's favorite new recipe, thaw and bake rolls, a chocolate chip pie, and a broccoli and rice casserole (plus the ubiquitous sodas. . .).

Truthfully, it was fun to spend so much time in the kitchen. Working full time and running around so much, keeps our family on the fast-food circuit way more than I would like. Even when I do cook at home, it is usually semi-homemade, at best. (Although my personal motto includes, "If you turned the stove/oven on, you made it. Consider it homemade.") I enjoyed getting to take the time to actually make and bake and play in the kitchen. Kady got in on the action and helped make the green beans. . .although she kept eating raw green beans.

Then, the next day was spent enjoying a fun, delicious dinner at the in-laws. After dinner, everyone was sitting around talking about. . .stuff. You know, just conversing freely about the things we don't get to catch up on much. I heard my sisters-in-law discussing instant mashed potatoes. Wanting to get in on the conversation, I asked if they used those too. They both looked at me as if I had asked if they routinely placed dog poo in their dishes and served it. Guess not.

It suddenly dawned on me that I am not in their league. My day of cooking resulted in a different end product than theirs did. They spend days cooking meals as a service to their loved ones. They consider these meals an offering of love. They put forth an effort to make meals from scratch, regardless of the shortcuts they could have taken, the time-savers that were at their disposal.

I, on the other hand, feed my family to keep us alive. I try to make our food as wholesome as possible, but I see no reason to make something from scratch that Hamburger Helper has perfected. For example, Kyler's cousin, Max, spent Thanksgiving night with us. The next morning, I made cinnamon rolls (out of the can). Having served them to Kyler the day before for breakfast, he knew the warm, gooey deliciousness of the store-bought and home-cooked goodness. He was telling Max how good his mama's (Bless you, Kyler!) cinnamon rolls were, when Max looked at him and said, "it's not like they're homemade." Kyler, looking at him as if he had lost his mind, said, "She JUST made them."

Two very different viewpoints on what constitutes homemade. Perhaps mine was formed by my mother, who always worked ouside of the home full-time. We also had a farm and outside responsiblities, so meals were good but as fast as possible. Meals were always eaten together, as a family. We didn't have a microwave until I was a teenager, but my mom could cut corners in so many ways! She didn't see a reason to spend time in the kitchen when you had other things to do. Even now, Thanksgiving dinner at her house (on Sunday) was delicious but much of it was made in advance and in the quickest way possible.

You know, it all comes down to the fact that Betty (as in Crocker) and I are on a first-name basis. And I'm ok with that. It is, after all, my heritage.


Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

I'm with you there, Babe. I think it's just that for some people, cooking is an art, something that they do to express love.

I have lots of ways I do express love, but cooking is NOT one of them. Unless you count the stress I put myself thru when I do have to cook. That should count as some kind of sacrifice. :)

My hubby is like your sisters-in-law. Cooking gives HIM pleasure. I don't "get" him, but I'm sure grateful for him. :)

Amy said...

You are still an awesome mama and an awesome person regardless of how your food gets to the table. Sometimes we just use extra help to get the end result (I am so with you on the using Betty and other's to help me out!)

Jenn said...

I love cooking, but it doesn't bother me if others don't. I have developed lots of time savers,though, and that helps a lot. For me it is more of a cost issue, really. To feed my family pre-packaged food would cost a small fortune. Ack!