Oh butternut squash, you of hourglass figure, what a hold you have over me!…
When you’ve cooked professionally and catered incessantly, you can’t just walk into a shindig empty handed — or with something too slapdash. You know that you can’t get away with a simple cheese platter, or a store-bought dip or appetizer without a little razzing. People expect more. Chances are you will become invisible as you walk in the door — all eyes will be on what you are holding. And it had better be good. Not fancy, mind you — just damn tasty….
How many recipes can you say have been a constant companion for almost your entire adult life?
For me it’s just a handful, and they are almost all desserts….
When I first started driving for Meals on Wheels six years ago, I just delivered the food they had made in their commercial kitchen. Not long after, I started adding a homemade treat each week and the reaction was so strongly positive that I didn’t have the heart to stop. I will never forget the look on one of my senior’s faces when it dawned on him that I had nothing extra for him. It only happened once, and now I haven’t got the stomach to arrive at a senior’s door without something, anything, no matter how small to add to their pre-made meals….
I was thinking about C today (she’s one of my regulars on my Meals on Wheels route). I haven’t seen her lately—for the last three weeks her caregiver has told me she’s sick in bed, sleeping, or fighting a bronchial infection. I have fretted over her, and knowing her advanced age, I never know which week will be the start of a further decline, which predates a bad fall, which week may even be her last. When I walk into the MOW center to pick up my food every Wednesday morning, I never know who will still be on my list, who has moved on to either self-sufficiency, or sadly, to an assisted living center or even passed. Anything could — and has — happened.
C. is a crazy smoker with a butt forever lit and frailer and leaner than a handful of kindling but she has shown an amazing resiliency. She has survived multiple infections and multiple hospitalizations in the three years or so I have known her, but each time she seems to make it back home. In this case, her nest is an enormous Craftsman, badly in need of new carpets and updates of every possible kind but still standing proud in a neighborhood of other big boned beauties, each with its own broad shoulders, grand parlours, and magnificent stairways. …
Soup in the fridge is like money in your checking account – it’s readily available for immediate personal expenditures, can be moved with ease to savings (your freezer), or held short term for barter. Need to thank someone for something they did for you – perhaps they picked up your kid, shared their expertise, or dropped off something yummy unexpectedly. Give them soup. I doubt not one person will turn you down — you not only showed your gratitude but you also helped them solve a problem of their own, aka what to eat and soup’s versatility allows them to make their own decisions (spend?save?share?). Money, baby….