Thanks, everyone, for your many sage comments on the family dinner. It got me thinking. Lots. Best of all, it even encouraged us all to sit down to a family meal of pasta with red sauce. As expected, it did not resemble this one:
(this photo, by the way, was
stolen borrowed from this article, the Magic of the Family Meal, from Time Magazine. I suppose it’s a good article, although it made me shout out loud, “Okay! O-KAY! I get it! I need more family dinners! Just BACK OFF ALREADY!”)
Anyhow, I tried to remember as we ate that the family meal is a process, not an end. And that no one is the Cleavers.
Honestly, I really appreciate the reminders, and the pep talks. And the suggestions of choosing other meals to be family meals, like breakfasts (we do pretty well with breakfasts, actually. Maybe we’re morning people).
One thing that I realized while thinking about all of this is that I don’t enjoy eating when I’m feeling stressed out. I’ve got other issues, too — like, I can’t sit with my back to where waiters will pass frequently, I cannot stand being touched while I’m eating, and I get wacky about noise from TVs or radios while dining. Basically, I like to think of meal-time as relaxing times.
Which is why I’m thinking about becoming a hobbit.
Listen to this description of hobbits, from Wikipedia: “Hobbits enjoy at least seven meals a day, not including snacks, when they can get them – breakfast, (arguably) second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, tea, dinner and later, supper.”
I’m not fully kidding, actually. Though I’m about twice the size of your average hobbit, I rather like the idea of the dinner then supper, at least on the nights when the family dinner isn’t going so well. My family meal? Well, that will be dinner. But if the food starts flying, and the kids start wailing, I can just put my fork down and say to myself, “that’s okay, I can still have supper later, after they go to bed.” It’s an out.
I know, the purists among you are scoffing. Others of you are whistling, saying “Ooooh, you are gonna get faaaat…”
Which if you ask me will only make me look MORE like a hobbit.
Actually, I’ve got a pretty good start already, and not just because my toes sprout hairs. See? Here’s a hobbit:
And here’s me:
(I’m looking mighty pretty in that photo aren’t I? And I am looking quite hobbitish, if you ask me).
And speaking of hobbits…while I was looking for a photo of Frodo, I actually stumbled upon a very nice-lookin’ Middle Earth recipe for cheddar soup over at the Lord of the Ring’s Fan Club scrapbook (and, man, there are some devoted folks there hanging around that site. I’d say that they have waaaay too much time on their hands, but then again, I just took a photo of myself looking hobbit-like, so I will refrain from casting the first stone). It looks sooo simple, and mighty tasty.
Here’s the upshot: chop leeks, carrots, and onions, then sautee in butter for a couple of minutes. Add 6 cups veggie broth, a minced clove of garlic, and some thyme and sage, then boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Then blend, add a cup of milk and a quarter pound of cheddar, and serve. I’m guessing it’s 45 minutes, start-to-finish, most of which is simmering time.
It looks yummy, and it’s one-pot, and it’s going to be really, really good…both for my dinner AND my supper.