Before our son was born, I used to be the head chef in the kitchen. For years I wrote a food blog and my husband took the photos of tarte tatins, cornish hens, and semifreddos. I had the luxury of time to hunt down the most vibrant bundles of greens at farmer’s markets in the summer, and when winter came, I lamented the end of sweet tomatoes while stirring the most comforting of stews. I nourished the man I love and relished those casual dinners with bowls balanced on our laps.
Like many people who have graciously shared their stories, we have had our own battles with dark days, ones I promised myself I would not write about here. For a multitude of reasons, I want to keep these journeys private between the two people who walked them. Suffice it to say, we now know about loss and dreams deferred (and more than we wanted to know about operating rooms). I try not to look back too often, but when I do, I have to admit that the memory of a peach cake on the counter sticks with me. I hope that does not minimize the fog we lived in, because someone loved me enough to bake it.
Now that we are both full-time working parents, the kitchen bustles with a different rhythm. Meal preparation looks much more like a scene with the Swedish Chef than the orchestrated symphony of wooden spoons dipped into the Creuset at just the right moment. I still scour food blogs and magazines for appealing new recipes, but now I have to consider whether a rather picky-when-I-feel-like-it-almost-one-year-old would try them. Often they get e-mailed to my husband, who works from home and starts the culinary ritual before I even walk in the door. He shops for special ingredients. Yes people, my husband is a saint (and he is taken!).
On the nights when I come home to an empty house, my son propped on one hip and three bags hanging from the other shoulder, I almost always find a plate of food on the kitchen table. Chicken Marsala is the specialty of the house. A white scrolled dinner plate from our wedding set for me and a green silicone frog-printed contraption for our son. Each piled high with nourishment. Each bite a reminder that we are loved. We are blessed beyond words.