I’m a chef. I think. Well, I worked in food service for nearly 10 years. I’ve been a busboy, a waiter, a bartender, a short-order cook, a dishwasher, a cashier, and a manager. I met my wife working the restaurant and bar at Arrowhead Country Club (more on that story later). So food plays an important part of my life. Eating and cooking. April Freeman, a good friend we met this year, has been great putting food back front and center. Our food nights are the stuff of legend, mini Iron Chef battles with our very own secret ingredients and dozens of mouths to feed. Check out her Pinch of Salt blog for some food stories and recipes, including an exposé on yours truly.
Unfortunately, Shannon’s diagnoses has kind of short circuited my inner chef. Everyone has been so generous in bringing meals to eat or freeze. It’s been a bit strange, though. I’m the cook in the family, and, as far as I know, not incapacitated in any way. Part of me wondered how this would work. I should be able to handle cooking, right? Even with a toddler under foot to boot. But I quickly realized after the multiple hospital appointments set in, that I’m going to need some help. Some nights, it’s the only way we are likely going to remember to eat. I like that. It’s comforting. My mom has been here for a few weeks to help, which is great. She taught me how to cook, and we’ve enjoyed spending time together getting some prep work out of the way for future meals.
There has been so much food that we may soon run out of places to store it. Anyone with a spare chest freezer, be on the look out for us. But this weekend, that wasn’t a problem. Shannon’s friend Katie, Carter’s godmother, and her boyfriend Cory came to visit. (Check out his Cory Speaking blog.) More people to eat delicious food prepared by others. And Cory’s a closet eater, sneaking into the kitchen to snack between meals, so leftovers are less of an issue.
More than anything, I love cooking for guests. But on Saturday, I actually surrendered my kitchen. And Katie produced the biggest blueberry pancakes I’ve seen this side of IHOP. Then there were the chocolate chip cookies and chocolate banana muffins that came later in the day. I should surrender my kitchen more often.
Today, was my turn. Made to order omelets with spinach, cheese, mushrooms, tomato, and avocado. And bacon. Everything is better with bacon. That’s what I miss (creating dishes and making people full, fat, and happy, not bacon). I don’t know yet how Shannon will tolerate chemotherapy, and what that will do to my culinary experimentation. But I know that the bounty of frozen meals we have stored and the more that is coming will definitely help. We will never turn down the generosity of friends who want to help. But through it all, I know that even when we are having the worst day ever, I can open the fridge, turn on the stove and create something to make my family happy.
Gotta go. It’s time for cheesecake.