Friday, November 19, 2010

Domestic Goodness

When it’s cold, which Las Vegas has thankfully become, I become very domestic. I bake bread, make hearty meals and lots of soup. Our friend, Tom, who visits often from his beachfront house in Key West, Florida said, “Boy, when the weather changes, you cook a lot” and he’s right. Although I am always complaining I haven’t enough time in the day to do things, I always manage to whip up a three-course meal. The trouble is, there’s only the two of us so I share as much as I can; otherwise I would be as big as my (bless her departed soul) Italian Aunt Jean who was a wide as she was short. Nothing makes me happier than making food and feeding people, but I will admit I wouldn’t want to do it every single day.

Recently my daughters came for a visit, as did a couple of out-of-town friends. Their arrival happened on the same day John and I had returned from our recent road trip. Needless to say, it was the beginning of a very hectic, physically and mentally taxing weekend. In addition to all the things I had to catch up on after a vacation, I had people to feed. By Sunday evening’s dinner I was completely exhausted. But the meal was, if I do say so myself (which I am as I’m the one writing this), amazing: Roasted penne pasta in my homemade red sauce, baked squash, fresh brussel sprouts, toasted garlic bread, bread pudding (I had to use up stale bread), and homemade pumpkin pie.

Table set and ready to dig in
As I sat back with a full belly and an even fuller glass of wine, I watched my guests eating and talking with complete exhausted contentment. I did this. I brought these people together in my home and made them feel welcome. I admit it; I had tears in my eyes and a smile on my face (I’m sure the wine was having an effect). This is what life and family and the human experience should be all about. One of our guests said that I should live in a compound where all my family could live in close proximity of one another and I said that’s exactly what I have wished for. Unfortunately, these gatherings take place only on occasion.

When my husband owned and operated Signature Café in Attica, New York from around 1999 to 2001, I had a similar experience. I made five soups a week, which our customers raved about. Along with John, I fed the masses that frequented our establishment with homemade, hearty meals and shared in gossip, everyday talk, and friendship. We loved it. Unfortunately, too many things prevented us from staying in business: high taxes, high cost of operation, and not enough income to sustain us. The memory of our little café in the little village will always remain one of our fondest.

Lisa and John standing proud in their cafe

Signing the wall in Signature Cafe
Again, I admit I wouldn’t be able to, nor want to sustain the amount of work it takes to feed so many on a regular basis, but oh, how I loved doing it.

Things are quiet around our house now but the holidays are upon us and I know that I will have good smells wafting from my kitchen and jumbled conversation from the full house of guests soon enough. I’m looking forward to it but am enjoying the peace and quiet while again.

No comments: