Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Joy of Cooking

Yesterday, I decided to repent of my hunter/gatherer ways with food. On the way home from the gym (read "Curves", but "gym" sounds so much more athletically serious), I stopped at our grocery store with a list. This is honestly the first time this summer I have purchased more then a few things here and a few things there. During D's illness and after his funeral, people have brought by enough cumulative food to supply a dinner-on-the-grounds picnic for my entire street. Make that subdivision.

List in hand, I headed to the produce section, and promptly burst into tears. Not because the price of fruit is outrageous (in fact strawberries, blueberries, grapes and cantaloupes were under a dollar). It just seems so overwhelming. My idea of cooking lately has been to rinse the fruits before I eat them. Sometimes.

During the last school year, D took it on himself to do all the grocery shopping and cooking. And ladies, assuming most of this invisible readership is female, we are talking COOKING. The engineer in him turned grocery shopping/food preparation into an art form. He began by reading books like "The Science of Cooking". I am sure that would be my second choice of reading after this week's "People" magazine.

He moved to Healthy Cookbooks (I found a note in the ever-present notebook he kept in his walker pouch regarding cookbook selections declaring "Nothing by Sandra Lee!") He actually had an Excel spread sheet of every recipe he tried, when he prepared it, what he rated it and if it would return to the rotation. We ate some good groceries at my house.  

He said that it took him about 2 hours to buy groceries. He'd load up his scooter in his specially equipped van, and trade the walker for it at the store. With one leg I know it was a challenge to reach things on the higher shelves, but he was a man on a mission to meet the highest culinary standards. With meals made from his rated recipes like "Mediterranean Cod--A+", "Salmon With Tomatoes and Rosemary--A+" and "Seared Scallops With Warm Tuscan Beans--A-", he definitely achieved that goal. The recipes are enclosed in plastic sleeves and filed in alphabetical order in a three-inch binder. On the few occasions that I cooked (after a day with my first graders), he always reminded me to , "Put the recipe back in the right place." Small price to pay for a man who knows his way around an orderly kitchen.

And the equipment he bought! It is a good thing that Young Son is dating a graduate of the Culinary Academy or I could not even identify many of the objects in my kitchen drawers and cabinets. 

I should do a Bloggy Give-Away to the person who can "Name These Tools."

And ingredients! Does your cabinet include many/any of these spices? Organic Sage, Saffron Threads, Whole Nutmeg, Cumin Seed, Ground Turmeric or Organic Black Sesame Seed? 

Here is a glance at just a few of the items on his oil and vinegar shelf in the pantry.
As you can imagine, the thought of cooking for one among all the gourmet fru-fru is an impossibility at this point in my journey. But I have found an excellent alternative.

It is called: Eating Out With Friends. Food cooked for me; delightful fellowship: a splendid combination! It turns out to be the perfect way to end a day of setting up my classroom, which will soon become The Kingdom of First Grade. Where food is served on trays or comes prepared in lunch boxes. 

D asked me to pass the recipe book on to Married Daughter, who shares his passion for Seriously Wonderful Food Preparation. I need to keep them near me just a little longer. And I'm definitely making colored copies before I mail them on. 

This moving on while surrounded by so many memories is a precarious path. While the grocery store brought tears, writing during this post brought me laughter. Sometimes I am amazed how close the emotions of tears and laughter can be to one another. The only way to finish the journey is to go through it. And today's section of the journey brought me  to laughter.

I'd like to bring laughter to you today. This is one of the funniest posts I've ever read by one of my favorite bloggers, Big Mama. You can read it here.


Locketts said...

The sentence about having to go through the journey reminds me of Goin' on a Bear Hunt. Simple truths in childhood songs, huh?

susan said...

Take a tip from Julie & Julia - cook your way through D's notebook! Your blog today brought back fond memories of eating lunch at the office - avoiding D's unapproving looks at my plate, followed by helpful suggestions of books to read. Loved that twinkle in his eyes!

Valinda Kimmel said...

Yes, Big Mama is funny, but Rayeanne you are right up there with her! Loved hearing about Dave's culinary prowess. Love , love, love the fact that recipes got a letter grade (A+) :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't know Dave was the 'el chef'. You'll have to share the special recipes you enjoyed.
I love reading your blogs.

Anonymous said...

"Laughter thru tears is one of my favorite emotions" Truvey of Steel Magnolias

Pressing through, "can't go over it, Can't go under to go through it" Locketts is right.. out of the mouth of babes!

When I saw the organized notebook with recipes in slip covers and thought~ PEOPLE REALLY DO THAT!!?! An organizer once made that suggestion to me, I thought, and not dig thru the recipe notebook I have where nothing is in the sleeves put filled with recipes scratched on bits pieces of papers.
The notebook explains the spreadsheet!! Love the organized mind! Enjoy your grocery store adventures!~ Adrienne, who only knows how to post anonymous