From the time I was in college until I got married I lived with other people. Sometimes it was just me and my best friend, and other times, like the summer I rented a house with four others, or the two years I lived with up to ten other women (Yes, you heard me. That’s another story), it was many. In all those scenarios, preparing a meal was a community effort.
For years my friend and I shopped together and split the grocery bill. We took turns cooking for each other, and we entertained a lot. The summer I lived with a few other gals we often shared meals together pot luck style, and the crazy two years I lived in complete insanity with far too many women, we pooled together our money hippy style and all took turns cooking dinner.
Now that I’m married, I love it when Bryan cooks with me. He’s pretty handy in the kitchen, and on many occasions is the family chef, but my most favorite times are when we cook together. There’s always loud music involved, and wine, and a little flirting. It is a time of family celebration, even if we are just celebrating Tuesday.
When Bryan travels I am lonely, but I think it mostly hits me around the dinner hour. I’m so accustomed to the plurality of the process that I seem to lose motivation when it’s just me and the kids. After three years of cooking fresh and (mostly) healthy meals for my kids, this week I finally broke down and bought a bag of frozen fish sticks and a bag of frozen tater tots.
I know it’s not the unforgivable sin to serve convenience foods to my children, and it’s not like I haven’t fed them pizza or Chinese take-out a dozen times in the last six months, but there’s just something about fish sticks that resonates in my mind as the ultimate sell-out for me. There is no community in fish sticks. There is no process in fish sticks. There is no beauty in fish sticks. I bake them, and I feel sad and lonely.
And to top it off, my kids LOVE fish sticks and tater tots, and completely cleaned their plates in five minutes. No arguing was necessary – no stalling, no counting bites or offering rewards for finishing their meal. Gulp, gulp, gulp.
Well, lest I become sad and depressed over processed seafood, I captured two very adorable children enjoying the bounty of fish sticks tonight in this short video. There may not be beauty in the preparation, but the consumers make it all sparkle like Christmas.