I have a confession. I love dinner. Not just like “yeah, eating is good and good food is awesome.” But I deeply, with a somewhat over the top passion, love food. Especially brunch and dinner. They are my two favorite meals of the day, the two meals I put the most planning and interest into. The recipes I pin, the blogs I follow, the cookbooks I read cover to cover.
The thing is, I didn’t used to be this way. There was a time in my life where I ate things because I liked them and was hungry and was a totally normal person about food. Then I got married and we started cooking because it was the grown up and responsible thing to do. And we watched a lot of PBS cooking shows (seriously, if you’re looking for somewhere to start, America’s Test Kitchen is the best cooking show out there and will turn you into a great cook). From there, it’s all gone downhill. My darling husband spent the last 4 years of our life cooking professionally. We figured out who the best cooks are and bought their cookbooks. We found ourselves saying “if I can make better at home, I’m not interested in eating it out.” We turned into food obsessive weirdos and I’ve never been able to explain it.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this beauty of a food blog- Dinner: A Love Story. Thanks to Jenny, all of the pieces started to come together. I love dinner because, to me and to so many others, what happens around the dinner table is family and friendship and love and culture. She recently did this great interview with Curtis Stone where he is quoted talking about his favorite foods and how, when asked what the best thing he’s ever eaten is, he always refers back to something his mother used to make. “Whether it’s chicken pot pie or meat loaf, the dishes we grew up eating, the ones made with love and shared around the dinner table, are the ones we seem to cherish most.”
This is the thing. The culture we want so deeply to build into this family we’re creating. When this baby I’m growing goes away to college, I want her to have fond memories of family time at the dinner table. I want her to call me and say “Mom, how do I make that bean stew you do?” When someone asks her what her favorite food is, I want her to say “My parents make…” and remember that we lovingly carved out time to cook for the family and eat together.
And, like Anthony Bourdain suggests in Medium Raw (which, by the way, is one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to and is continually hilarious, endearing and dreamy if you’re food obsessed like we are), I want our little girl to leave our house with a few recipes under her belt. My hope and dream for her is that we raise her well- kind, gracious, strong, well rounded, educated, all of the usual things. But with one addition: a few recipes she knows by heart. A meal she can make for her friends, from start to finish, and be both confident and proud of.
I know life is going to get busier than we can ever imagine. But I hope we hold on to this dream and value. That, like the blog I recently found, dinner in our house can be a love story for our family. A nourishing time around the table in every way possible. In food, in family, in relationship and love for each other.
This is the accidental manifesto we’ve created so far. In the last almost 6 years of marriage, we have become a family who just really loves dinner.