Since I haven’t been cooking impressive meals lately, I’ll tell you about what I think about food instead. Tough luck for you, more attention for Baby! 🙂
What makes a food or a meal special?
I was inspired to consider this as the husband and I were discussing what foods to prepare for a family visit. The husband wanted to make a “special meal” for the family one evening and he didn’t like my suggestion to make it something that we could reheat during the week in case the family members didn’t make it for the meal (since their plans were somewhat tentative). This didn’t seem to fit his criteria for special.
He seemed interested in something that involved a animal-based protein, involved day-of preparations, and required going to the store to buy all new ingredients. Which was the exact opposite of my suggestion of thawing out the frozen pan of homemade spaetzle from the freezer. Since he was willing to do the cooking, I didn’t explore my curiosity with him then and there, and let him plan whatever he wanted to made.
Instead I took to facebook to ask all 75 of my followers what they thought made a meal special. I got four responses:
The people sitting around the table.
Having all of the complimenting dishes that go together; the meal is well planned. Another is when the whole family is happy.
It is something you don’t get all the time, either because it is expensive, or only seasonally available. Alternatively, it is attached to a special memory, or prepared and served with more care than usual.
When someone else makes it! When we (my sisters & I) lived at home and would make lunch/supper, and would ask mom if it was good, she would almost always say yes. (And later said anything she didn’t have to cook always tasted good!) Now I am beginning to know what she meant!
Obviously they are all correct. There is no wrong answer, and I agree with all of them. I prefer eating with loved ones over eating alone, complimenting dishes are pleasing, happy family is ideal, rare is special, and I love when someone else cooks for me. All of these apply nicely to special holiday meals that we are all now trying to remove from our midsections and thighs.
(No one mentioned that it should be rich or unhealthy, which I found interesting. Maybe that’s a given? Anyone have a special kale salad?)
I was somewhat amused to read the husband’s response, which was the first one. Given that answer, any menu should have worked, because the people would make it special!
In the end he made a delicious baked ravioli dish with sausage inspired by a similar dish we had at a friend’s party. There was wine, a bagged salad, and a bakery dessert. I set the table nicely and even folded cloth napkins. And the people did make it special. It was a wonderful meal that I am excited to have again sometime, sans sausage (hint, hint).
What do you think? What makes a meal special to you and/or your family? What are you favorite special dishes? Please share in the comments below, on my facebook page, or just with whoever you are sharing a meal with next.