Saturday, October 6, 2012

PaD #6 - I'm thankful for...

3pm:  time to put up the soup...I'm cooking a feast today, because I don't know why, it's Autumn I guess.  I've been wanting to institute 'Friday Night Dinner' at my place for awhile - when I was growing up, we had Sabbath dinner every Friday night, where we would abandon our everyday kitchen table that seated the four of us (Mom, Dad, bro, me), for the dining room table that could accommodate my grandparents, and any other guests, as well.  I didn't get to it yesterday, so I'm trying for my best approximation tonight.  I haven't invited anyone yet the one person I invited (by text a half an hour ago) can't make it, and I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed or relieved, really!  I don't think I've ever cooked a big meal with more than one course, or had people over to share it...kind of a shame, really, but I'm a bit new to the kitchen as a happy place, and I'm still working on developing positive attachments to cooking, and food in general.  so while cooking the meal is nerve-wracking enough, I think adding people to the mix my first time out is probably more pressure than I need, and I'm going to be thankful for the opportunity to have a test-run before I do it again - next time on a Friday, with Challah, Manishevitz wine, a few words of prayer, and a clean house, too, just so I can have the whole experience I've been craving.  (also, my kid is at the library doing a reading program, and I have to turn all the food off to go pick him up - it's okay, now I know how to plan the timing better, too!)

6pm:  we're home, the boy is watching a movie, the soup is ready and staying warm on the stove, the veggies are roasting, the grains are cooking, the steak is resting...not too bad.  I had planned on being ready to serve at 6, but since I had to run out for the pick-up, I decided to just turn the soup all the way down, and wait on the rest of it until we got back.  so, correcting for the half hour spent watching the kids act out the scenes they read, I'll be happy to serve by 6:45 7:00...

                                                                                   ...7:30pm:  I'm happy to report that I think that was the best meal I've ever made!  the soup was full of flavor!  the roasted veggies - purple, red, and sweet potatoes, carrot, parsnip, a few Brussels sprouts, beet, onion, garlic, with a splash of liquid aminos, oil, and vinegar - were fantastic!  the mashed millet and cauliflower with onion, garlic, Parmesan and Romano cheese was pure comfort-food-good, and while the steak could have been better, it was just fine.  and to top it all off, we had some Wookie Cookies that we baked last night.  yaay!  I'm so proud of myself!  I just wanted to take a moment to publicly pat myself on the back for doing what many people do every single day, successfully, for the first time in my life, by myself...before I go back in the kitchen to clean up, wash all the dishes, and put it all away!

so today has given me the opportunity to be thankful for a great many things, the least of which are not a decent apartment with a working kitchen, food to cook in it, and the space to put a table at which to share meals with my son and our friends.  even though we live below the poverty line as it is drawn in the United States, I want to point out that the word 'poverty' is so relative, and mine seems so...opulent compared to the experience of the street kids I met when I passed through Vietnam, or for the women and children Sharp Little Pencil and her poem introduced me to, through her link to the Half the Sky movie trailer.  opulent poverty.  what a joke.  while I thank the Universe with every fiber of my being for the happy accident of being born who I am, where I am, with the background I have, and I am thankful that there are people who work tirelessly, everyday, providing futures for the women and girls who have yet to know a world where everyday miracles mean having gotten through intact, unmolested, and alive.  next to that kind of horror, most of my troubles (and, frankly, yours) seem so trite...

I am thankful for the ability to educate myself so I can figure out what my talents are and how to use them to HELP somehow, instead of just falling to the ground in the face of all this chaos, pouring ashes in my hair, and wailing for all those who don't know the guilt of being able to delete the pleas of help from my email inbox - Save the Children, Equal Rights for Roma, Moms Against Microwaving Kittens - because I'm barely making ends meet without having to add the consideration of any number of additionally nightmarish scenarios to my eggshell psyche.  I often get wrapped up in the pain I feel I've experienced throughout my life, and how I feel it keeps me from living up to my full potential - then I see something like this, and I feel ashamed.  I will think about the people who would make a meal out of my compost as I throw it into the bushes, and give thanks that I live the kind of life that lets me find a thousand reasons a day to be thankful.

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