My kitchen is the heart of our home. Some of our most important conversations have taken place there as well as some of the silliest. In our family, we laugh. A lot. And the kitchen to me is about so much more than just the food cooked and meals shared there. It is all about the memories.
When the nest emptied out (after I was so certain those little birds were not at all ready to fly, but it was just Mama Bird that wasn’t ready) one of the things I missed most was family meal time.
Not that I didn’t cook. I did. I didn’t want Man of My Dreams to feel I only tied the apron on for the kids, so I made a concentrated effort to cook nice meals for just the two of us. But I missed the mealtime banter around our table.
Not that we didn’t have our own banter! Man of My Dreams is the funniest guy I know and there are many times we are both really glad we’re not on some weird reality TV show with hidden cameras in the flower pots or behind the picture frames! And trust me, you should be glad too that you can’t tune in to what is happening inside this house!
The thing I love about family meal times is that they are great times for making memories. So I just want to encourage you, if your kids are small and sometimes it is just all you can do to get something to eat on the table with some semblance of nutritional value to love every minute of it even when you are really thinking it is just one more thing I have to do before I can lay down my weary head!
Before you know it, there will be sports practice, music lessons, sleep overs and camps and a gazillion reasons why your whole family isn’t around the table. And if you blink after that, your kids will be in college or have jobs or get married and have their own tables and it is the rarest of all things rare and precious to have everyone around the table in your house.
When the kids were little I got into the “shoulds” and it about killed me! A good mother should ______________ (fill in the blank). Bake homemade cookies. Make everything from scratch. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I finally gave it up and found freedom from the tyranny of the shoulds!
I’d been wanting to make, as dear daughter called them, “shape cookies.”
Confession: I once burned up a quite expensive Kitchen Aid Mixer making Sugar Cookies. Using the recipe my sister (who makes sugar cookies with all of her grandchildren every year) gave me. Hers turn out absolutely perfect.
Mine? Not so much. Especially when the kitchen is filled with the stench of expensive mixer innards on fire. (Disclaimer: Just putting the milk in the measuring cup does not qualify as in the dough. Causing said dough to be thick and tough and more than even a Kitchen Aid can handle. And running out to the mailbox and then talking to the neighbor for five minutes so you don’t notice the mixer overheating or smell the impending disaster is not recommended. But I digress..)
So I wanted to make the cookies but I just didn’t have time to burn up another mixer! I finally bought refrigerated sugar cookie dough and we had a blast eating, rolling, eating, cutting, eating, baking, eating and frosting them and then eating what was left (Maybe 2 cookies). And I would have totally missed out on that memory if I would-a followed the should-a instead of remembering what my friend Connie says–Sometimes you give up the good to have the best.
Perfectly homemade cookies are certainly good, but the memory of that day with dear daughter was above the best.
Here is Sharon’s Sugar Cookie Recipe
- Cream together 2 cups margarine, 2 cups sugar and 1 cup brown sugar.
- Beat in 4 eggs.
- Mix well 6 1/2 cups of flour, 3 T Cream of Tartar, 2 T soda, 1/4 cup milk and 2 t Vanilla.
- Refrigerate 2 hours. (Will keep 6 weeks in the fridge).
- Roll 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes.
- Bake @ 350 degrees for 12 minutes or less. Will still look raw. Allow to cool and then frost as desired.
Glaze for cookies: (From King Arthur’s Flour)
- 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk
- Food coloring (optional)
Memories of great times and meals from the kitchen isn’t just about filling holes, it also fills souls. Laughter at the table is much more important than the food itself. I missed the mark in many ways as a parent and as a wife, but this one thing I got right. “She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household.” Proverbs 31:15. Well, except for the rising at night part. :0)
What is your favorite kitchen memory or favorite family dinner? Please share!