Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gifts from the Grocery Store by Angie Ledbetter

Yesterday I had a cook-a-thon. Chopping veggies into minute pieces and stirring good smelling simmering pots is a kind of therapy for me, so having a rare day of "nothing" to do, I spent lots of hours in the kitchen. First, I helped my Mom make an army-sized vat of chicken and dumplings at her house. Oh, the satisfaction of cutting celery, onions, garlic and tortilla strips (for the dumplings) brought. It also allowed me to spend time with my parents, with Daddy acting as chief sous chef. They had friends to share this Southern staple with, and sent some with me too.

Back home before noon, I cooked up several savory dishes. There were fat juicy ribeyes to marinate in Asian Sesame dressing, garlic pods and potatoes to bake, and a black iron skillet of cornbread. As I was furiously flinging pots and pans for the next planned dishes, four of my daughter's college friends arrived to bake goodies for a party. And the guys and girls did it all from scratch! The six of us had fun sharing utensils and jockeying for the oven's limited space. Again, more time spent together.

After they left, I continued my kitchen magic with a marinated veggie salad to go over lettuce and fresh spinach, two pans of BBQ chicken I'd promised to friends' kids, a pineapple upside down cake (who knew there were pineapple-flavored cake mixes now?), and for good measure, I threw a rump roast in the crockpot. I dare anyone in this house to say anytime soon, "Mom, there's nothing to eat! Can I go to McDonald's?"

The kitchen time I got yesterday reminded me how fortunate we are to have every conceivable ingredient available to us at our favorite grocery stores. I can't imagine having to go to several markets, or "making do" with the few food items available in poor countries. I'll remember to pray in thanksgiving for our American farmers and food producers tonight. They allow me to endulge in my culinary therapies and creations as often as I choose by stocking grocery store shelves with a huge variety of good stuff. I'd cook again today, but there's no room in the inn (refrigerator).


Kathryn Magendie said...

How funny - I am reading this just as I put a cake in the oven, have my cornbread pans ready for cornbread baking, and a pot of vegetarian chili is simmering on the stove(Rog made the chili, I admit, as I was working on something)...I'm preparing these things for the kids at Canton Middle School *smiling*...

Barbara Quinn said...

It must be something about the time of year, maybe it's something to do with daylight savings time, cause I've been reading my cookbooks and cooking too. Irish Soda Bread is on tap for tomorrow just in time for the holiday. I made polenta and a tomato salad on Sunday with grilled veal chops and grilled artichoke hearts (Tom did the grilling expertly). Yesterday it was braised boneless pork chops with sage and tomatoes that I served with the leftover polenta and roasted asparagus and mushrooms. I baked the polenta in the oven. Ohmigod. Too tasty. I would eat just that polenta if it were up to me! You are so right about the abundance of food we have. It's amazing and how lucky are we to be able to eat all this terrific food whenever we want.

Nannette Croce said...

Wow, Angie. Can I have some? Funny thing. I used to love to cook gourmet meals when I was a full-time working gal. It was a creative outlet after a full day of the three piece suit world I worked in. Now that I have my writing as my creative outlet I see cooking as more of a chore. Happily my husband has taken it up. Now and again on Sundays I get the urge. Or on cold winter days I'll make a soup, but I'm glad not to have the full responsibility anymore.

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