Ask anyone- I really really love to cook. Both my parents are wonderful cooks (well my mom definitely should be- she's a caterer!) so between the two of them I've picked up what I like to consider a pretty decent ability to cook (and a huge love for entertaining!) Meals started getting more elaborate once I had a place of my own, but it wasn't until I met J that my love for cooking was kicked into full gear. Cooking dinner for him for "weekday dates" gave me even more of a reason to experiment- not to mention finally having an honest food critic to try new recipes on! And aside from the great food (did I mention I really really love pasta dishes?) I fell in love with the happiness a great meal brings- as well as the conversation and laughs.
Growing up my parents (especially my mom, though it was obvious that my dad loved it too) instilled the tradition of eating together as a family Sunday through Friday. Saturday was a treat for all of us. It was my parents date night and the night that my sister and I got to have pizza or tv dinners or cheesy casserole while my grandmother would come stay with us. I loved those nights. Esp. when she brought her famous pound cake :)
Anyhow, I learned early on that meal time was a special time, and that almost any hard day can be fixed (or at least softened) by a good meal.
That trip down memory lane leads me to last night. J and I both we having very long weeks (impressive given that the week started on Tuesday :) ) but between projects and tests and work, we were both exhausted. So while he was at work, I decided that although I would LOVE to just sit with my new Lucky, Real Simple, and Rachel Ray magazines, that instead, I would make dinner how my mom always had- special with lots of plates :)
First, I set the table. And not our normal setting of the table, oh no. There were place mats and cloth napkins, glasses on the right, bread plates on the left, dinner plate, salad plate, the serving plates and then of course, the candles. Tons of candles. Because like I said before, my mother never. ever. forgot the candles (even when my dad complained that he liked to "see his food" to which my mom would reply "you can. you aren't performing surgery on it so there is no need for bright overhead lights." Surprisingly, J said that one night too and I had the same response. I about fainted. I was turning into my mom :))
After the table, I set to making dinner. First a roasted carrot and avocado salad to start, followed by Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic (yes that is actually what it's called) with mustard roasted potatoes and finally fresh slices of challah. It was amazing. *Btw, if you haven't checked out smitten kitchen I don't know what you are waiting for. Her recipes are wonderful.
And you know what? It worked. Not only was I super excited for him to come home to share dinner with me, but I was in a much better mood. Apparently I wasn't alone. J came home asking what smelled so good and as he turned the corner a huge smile came over his face the moment he saw the candlelit table. You could feel the stress melting away with each bite. We sat, talked, and laughed for a good hour before crawling into bed to watch a movie. It was the perfect ending to a rough day.
Anyways. I hope everyone had fun reading as a recalled memories and recapped dinner last night. Is there anything special you like to do to relax and unwind after a hard day?