Dish-To-Pass

What is your first thought – when you’re asked to bring a dish to pass?

We’ve got a potluck after church today. Our daughter is among those being confirmed. And everyone is getting together post-service to celebrate in one place versus everyone going off and doing their own things.

My co-workers will vouch for this: my potluck staple is salad. Fresh, leafy greens, strawberries often on top and perhaps some sliced almonds, salad. Usually, while others heavy, fat-laden, cheesy and fulfilling home-cooked dishes would get snarfed up, I’d go home with a good deal of lettuce left in the bowl.

But, I can’t do a ton of heavy dishes.  I just can’t. I feel awful for hours afterwards, even eating in moderation. Those spaghetti hot dishes, macaroni salads and meatballs that often grace potluck tables really are good, they really are and I enjoy them immensely. But I eat more like a rabbit. I graze. Mostly on fresh fruits and vegetables. And, well, cheese and bread. I just feel better. And the older I get the more I realize I’ve got to watch what I eat as much as I fit in any exercise. So salad it is.

lettuce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But as I get set for this mornings potluck, I’m thinking back on some of the more common dishes my mom and dad used to make and take – German Potato Salad, Goulash, Cheesy Broccoli and Rice, Mint Ice Cream Brownies.. to name a few. And I’m feeling like perhaps I’m missing out by bringing .. well, a nice leafy green salad.

So I’m wondering what others may say is their favorite, home-cooked, bring to the party, make ahead of time and stays delicious, potluck or one-pot dish? The ones you love to eat or make?

cookbook

As I flip through one of my mom’s old, well loved and used church cookbooks, I’m not certain any of the casseroles are ones I want to necessarily make, not today anyway. But they do bring back some wonderful memories of dishes made and shared with friends, and time in the kitchen and around the dinner table with family.

And if all I continue to make are salads, what sort of well used recipe cards or cookbooks will I be passing along to my kids?

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Let her cook?

I finally decided we were close enough to trash day yesterday .. to go ahead and dump out some old food.  Which, I hate ever doing.  Wasting food.  And throwing food out.

But when you’re living alone part of the time and still have to shop for others to be with you the other part of the time, it somehow seems inevitable.  Which is why, over the years, I’ve taken to eating out more than I should.

In trying to get back to spending less, eating healthier and being home more .. something I want for myself and that the Cowboy is encouraging me to do as well… I’m trying to get back into this cooking thing.

……

I’ve always loved to cook.  Love looking at recipes.  Love having family and friends over for meals.  I have an extensive collection of favorite cookbooks.  But at the moment, in our last move and in severely trying to downsize, I’ve pulled out only a few from the boxes.

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The rest, for now .. sit in storage.

I’m not sure when exactly .. I got so far away from that.  But fairly certain it was as I adjusted to a new life, during my divorce.

Six years later …

My daughter is wanting desperately to learn to cook.   So I’m trying to find the time between getting home late each evening during the week when I have her, homework, taking the dogs out, picking up and getting her to bed.  Which doesn’t leave us much time.  To cook.  Anything but buttered noodles (any pasta), rotisserie chicken and a salad.  (Yes, I know I can throw something in the crock pot.  That would require more advance planning and it just never seems to work out that we actually eat what goes in there.  A lot still gets thrown away.)  We eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Again, really no cooking involved.  And on weekends between traveling back and forth to South Dakota, visiting family or friends here, it seems someone else is always the one at the stove.

SO… when I’m not looking:

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(Sorry for the close-up.)

She ‘cooks.’

Grapes.  Bananas.  Swedish Fish.  Apples.  Some sort of sugary sauce.  Pretty sure that’s what I ended up throwing out yesterday after it sat in the refrigerator for a couple days.  (No garbage disposal or it would’ve gone out much sooner.)

At 10 years old .. she whips up whatever concoction she can, whenever I turn my back or give her a few minutes alone now, while I run errands or walk the dogs.

No stove though.  One of the rules.

So she gets creative.

And she loves it.  She will also usually try and stomach eating whatever it is she’s ‘cooked’ just to prove a point.  That she’s ready to learn.

……

In writing this – I’ve learned its not only a rite of passage by doing a little research, it’s healthy in so many ways for a child to learn to cook.  Especially now that she’s learning fractions in math, cooking might be a great way to give her practical application.  Hadn’t thought about that until this moment.  And perhaps I should have done more to bring her into the kitchen years ago.

From eHow Family:

What Children Learn from Cooking

Teaching children to cook is not only a valuable life skill, but it incorporates other important skills as well. When children cook, they have a chance to practice math skills, work on following directions, learn to work with an adult and get a sense of accomplishment. Children as young as 3 can begin learning to cook.

  1. Skills for Younger Cooks (under 5)

    Reading Aged Children (5-7)

    School Aged (7 and up)

    Significance

    Fun Fact

    Warning

I waffle back and forth between wanting to fuss at her for wasting so much food (and money in the process) that would have been part of her school lunch or our dinner.  And, allowing her the space to be creative.  To cook. And I know it’s in her best interest to teach her.

So while I look for the time, I send her to look for the dish soap.  Because if she’s going to learn to cook ..