Once upon a time, I was going to be a chef. That’s right. While you were playing jump rope and eating ice cream, I was whipping up crepes or baking brioches. Oh, and decorating some spectacular award winning cakes too! So I set my sights on the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. That’s right. While you were busy picking out your Psychology and Computer Science texts, I was picking out Henkels and chef’s whites. Well, you know the saying, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”? I certainly did and within 6 months of my first semester at Cornell, I knew the kitchen was way too hot for me. For one who thrives on both giving and receiving positive reinforcement, I was asked too often “Who made this shit?” and told too many times, “I wouldn’t feed this to my dog” and I soon realized I had neither the stamina nor resilience to be a chef. The hotel industry, however, still offered so many alluring alternative careers and the side step to Human Resources has faired me well both within the hospitality industry and elsewhere.
While at Cornell, surrounded by would-be hoteliers from around the world, I have to admit I was involved in and exposed to some pretty spectacular food that evolved from a healthy amount of creativity, inspiration, insurmountable taste. Of course there was also no thought to the cost or the time involved in preparation and no need to give thought to the cost or time involved in preparation. Every once in a while, my classmates and accomplished some spectacular shit. We would ogle over foodie publications from all over the world.
Ten years after graduation, and 2 kids later, the Beef Wellingtons and Veal Marasalas have long digested in my distant memory. For a while, my husband and I would put the two boys to bed and enjoy a late night dinner creation. But add one more child to our mix and my new favourite foodie website became Kraft Canada and Campbell’s Soup (oh, but that Cooking with Philly is creeping close). If my hotelie friends could see what I now whip up, they’d sprinkle me with Peruvian pink pepper and roast me. Aside from the challenge of trying to find foods the whole family enjoys (I’ve given up; if 3/5 of our family give it a thumbs up, it’s a keeper), it’s even harder trying to find recipes that can be made awhile changing out of your work clothes, packing a hockey bag and signing a school permission form. I’ve decided that my hockey momoir will have an entire chapter devoted to recipes I have found that can be assembled the night before, popped in the slow cooker and that taste as good at 5p (for early practices), and at 7p (for normal dinner time) and again at 830p (for the one who missed the first 2 dinner seatings). It’s a pretty short chapter so far.
Times have changed for me and time is short for me… especially through the winter. Dinner time sneaks up so quickly and suddenly I am in a pickle. I do what I have to in order to get kids fed and out the door. I’ve sacrificed the prep time to salvage some family time. I’ve come to realize it doesn’t matter what you’re eating (to a point, of course); what matters is that you’re eating together.
“Whose turn is it to set the table?”