I used to cook all the time.
I love food. I love to cook. I love to grocery shop at stores that stock the freshest of foods in the outer aisles and rows of bulk bins are like a little culinary playground to me. I love to eat well if I’m going to eat, meaning .. I don’t usually eat junk just to put something in my mouth. I adore a colorful, healthy meal made with the freshest ingredients, if possible from my garden. And I then enjoy sharing it with family and friends.
We sat down at the table as a family almost every night as kids.
We did the same during my first marriage, when my daughter was young.
After the divorce .. it wasn’t always easy on the schedule we were on, to plan out a healthy series of meals each week at home. I would cook when possible. It’s more economical and I just prefer it. But between selling/staging a house that was on the market for over a year and not wanting to mess up the kitchen only to have to clean it again and re-stage .. school events, activities and family or friends in town asking us last minute to join them for dinner, usually we would get only a night or two at home to actually make a home cooked meal on our old schedule of 2-2-5 ..
And a lot of food, fresh/leftovers or otherwise, would go to waste. A lot.
So often, especially on the weeks I had her only two nights .. we would go one of those nights, to either our favorite restaurant or we might check out somewhere new. (We are blessed with a community of awesome eateries.) The other night, we would either go to the grocery store and get something special to make at home. Or, just do breakfast for dinner, which we both love. It’s been that way for nearly 7 years.
Fast forward to three weeks ago.
Her first day of school, literally just switched to our new schedule of week on week off .. I kissed her goodbye at the school door and immediately set course for the grocery store. With a list. To buy food for a week of home cooked meals and beyond.
Realizing at that moment how long it had been since I had been able to truly meal plan, or cook for someone more than myself for more than a night or two at a time, almost had me in tears. And we’ve eaten at home just about every night we’ve been together since. Even the leftovers.
Loving for so many reasons, the new schedule.