Friday, June 17, 2011

The Eternal Question

What’s for dinner?

(Successful Bruschetta)

With the idea that Joe and I would be married soon, one of my New Year’s Resolutions (actually made at the end of February) was to cook dinner at least four times a week. Though it hasn’t been perfect, I’ve made a pretty honest effort and Joe and I have worked together to make this resolution a reality in a few different ways:

  1. I made a Google Document filled (and continually filling) with recipes to try.
  2. Joe bought me a blank cookbook to record successful recipes.
  3. Joe unloads the dishwasher so I can do the rest of the dishes. No one likes to cook in a dirty kitchen. And I hate unloading the dishwasher.
  4. Paying attention. Like when you put something in the oven. On Broil.
  5. I call my mom regularly to ask how to make gravy, what a good price for meat is, and how high do I cook this at again?
  6. Many of you have helped too. I think of Viki each time I pull something out of the oven with my oven mitts or put a finished product on our beautiful green plates. I think of Sister Lybbert whenever I put on my apron. I think of Brenda when I use my orange bowls and again when I think of she and Shelly while using my pots and pans. I think of Donna when I make waffles. I think of Rachel when I use my cookie sheets. And I think of many more of you when I use something bought with gift cards or cash.
  7. Praying. No joke. Prayers go something like this, “Oh! Please don’t let the chicken be burnt again…I’m trying really hard here, would Thou mind filling in the blanks...Even when the “blank” is leaving the stove on high and it’s my fault?”

Maybe you remember from your first attempts at cooking on a regular basis that it’s not always easy. Things take much longer than they should. For a few weeks Joe and I were eating supper at 10:00pm, even though I had started at 4:30pm…and it’s nothing but meat and potatoes with a 5-hour-old wilting salad on the side because you forgot you should maybe make the salad at the end, while things are cooking, not at the beginning when your meat is still frozen.

It’s discouraging and encouraging in alternating breaths. It’s hard work. It’s a job that needs repeating every. single. day. It takes pep-talks like, “This is kinda hard, but it will be rewarding. It will taste good. You’re not bad at this, you’re just learning. It’s always worth it at the end of the day. Always…except for that one time when you had to throw dinner out because it was inedible. That wasn’t worth it…But this will be!”

And it was while I was making dinner that I realized that dinner and marriage have a lot in common.

It takes Joe and me both working to make it successful. It takes planned effort sometimes. It takes paying close attention to wants and needs. It takes calling up my mom or friends to ask, “How do I do this?” one more time. It takes all of you who give advice and encouragement. It takes praying that after all of your hard work Heavenly Father will fill in the blanks. Even when you’ve left the heat on high and said nasty things to your husband, even when you really didn’t want to or mean to. It takes realizing that sometimes the marital equivalent of nachos and cold cereal is just as good as your 15-step recipes and that it all evens out and that both get you fed. It takes remembering that it is always worth it, even when it turns out still needing salt in the end. It takes work. Daily work. And it really is worth it.

It’s a question of eternity that always needs answering.

(Hard at Work)

*P.S. Does anyone have ideas of what I can make for dinner tonight?


Cali said...

I'm having Raisin Bran. That's what I suggest.


Charlotte said...

I hate deciding what to make for dinner. I don't mind making dinner—in fact, I like cooking! But the deciding is often agony for me.

The other night I asked Josh if he could be in charge of dinner, and later he called me asking for ideas. Oh dear.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I love this post. You're so right -- making a successful dinner and making a successful marriage have so very much in common.

Let's see. Have you had meatloaf yet this week? (I know you haven't. You hate it.) What about poor man pancakes? You love those. Or, maybe since it's Friday you go out on a date and include supper in it and kill two birds with one stone-- supper and marriage enhancement.

I love your writing.

Cassidy said...

Don't forget that making things like taco salad and hawaiian haystacks count as dinner too!

Tiffany Fackrell said...

its the deciding what's for dinner that is the hardest for me. I make a two week menu...and sometimes i don't even assign them days but i just write out two weeks of dinners so i know i have the ingrediants for all of those dinners in my house and then i can just go to the list and pick one. We are having tomato basil quiche on Monday and peanut noodles anoter day! if you want the recipes email me tiffanyjoy83 at hotmail dot com. Oh and i have a new recipe for curry coconut chicken that i am going to try! Good luck with the dinner thing. It is just part of my routine now. i start dinner by 5 and it is on the table ready for david when he walks in the door at 6:10. it's what works for us and He is always super super greatful when dinner is ready when he gets home!

Lynn said...

My first large fight with Uncle Fred was over dinner. How was I to know he hated peas? Enough to swear? After an afternoon of tears and "silence" he brought me a new pair of earrings from town to say he was sorry. Ruined dinners serve a purpose too.
Love, Aunt Lynn

Rachel said...

What a good post! You're all growed up! I don't have a dinner suggestion, but I figure that's ok since I'm a few days late. Instead I would like to suggest mulberry raspberry pie. I know you like to bake pies, and I especially know you'll like this one. I tried it last week and it was incrEDIBLE! I have the recipe AND the berries if you need them! (they grow in a park near my house!)

tina said...

We do exactly what Tiffany does with the menu and we, too, don't always assign the days, but at least we have ideas and all the ingredients. It saves a lot on the grocery bill that way. We always have spaghetti and pizza in the same week, to share the sauce. We always have breakfast burritos and fajitas, stir fry or sweet & sour something in the same week to share the bell peppers (I think Costco is the best price for bell peppers, so we buy 6 at a time). We try to alternate meats during the week and lay off the beef more. :)

Great analogy in this post!

Renny said...


I have a "four ingredients" cook book. You should invest in that. Fast and simple, and very good!

Also, I loved this blog post so much, I teared up a little.