Well friends, how are you coping this, the ninth week of “COVID craziness”? I, for one, am beginning to long for an evening in a restaurant! I don’t need anything fancy, just the joy of being OUT, among friends and sharing good food sounds glorious! I expect I am not the only one among us that feels this way…
I will be the first to admit that over the years I found myself cooking a lot less at home. Given that I spend my days at work cooking, usually by the time I get home at night the last thing I am interested in is spending more time in the kitchen. I frequently will bring home left overs, which will easily suffice for mid-week meals, and my husband doesn’t mind fixing simple suppers, so going hungry is not a problem for us. When I have a day off, I do enjoy creating better meals for us, but I often find I am missing ingredients that I have readily available at work, or want specific kitchen tools that I don’t have at home. On the plus side, I find myself creating unusual dishes because of this!
I am sure many of you are experiencing similar scenarios. We have so many great restaurants we can order from, but carry out just isn’t the same! Perhaps it’s the ambiance we miss most? Or maybe it’s the fact that you still have to do the dishes… Whatever it may be, I find solace in the fact that we are not alone in navigating this new normal! For better or worse, we are all in this together.
Thankfully, warmer weather has finally arrived, and with its’ arrival, I tend to think of picnic fare…lighter, cooler foods (rather than soups and casseroles). Summer salads are light, colorful and refreshing, and grilling lends itself to wonderful flavors and smells to tickle the nose and taste buds. Since we have to cancel our large gatherings, small family meals can be outdoors, around the picnic table with ease. One positive aspect of this new normal is the resurgence of the family unit around the table!
Let’s get creative…you don’t need to stick to the “same old-same old” when planning meals. Our kids are home all the time now, so why not get them involved in meal planning and prep? And, because parents are acting as teachers, how about teaching math and science when planning those meals? Kitchen math is very important! Fractions, addition and subtraction are all important parts of following recipes. Science plays a big part in cooking and baking as well. It is the chemical reactions of different ingredients that will make baked good rise or sauces come together. Experiment a little and let the kids see what happens when you follow a recipe, and what happens when you don’t! And while you are at it, balancing a check book and creating a budget are great math lessons. Sorting laundry can be a lesson in colors for little kids. We may as well make the most of this isolation by finding fun in the very day mundane tasks!
This week, why not add something new to your menu, give each child a task and make some fun memories along the way. Just think about it. When they are adults, it will be them telling their kids “I remember the spring and summer of COVID isolation.
“That’s when I learned how to…”
What will their memories be? We will find out in the future!
Balsamic Potato Salad
2 lbs potatoes, diced
½ onion, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 red pepper, diced small
6 hard-boiled eggs, diced
¼ c olive oil
½ c balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook potatoes and drain well; mix dressing ingredients together and pour over warm potatoes. Allow potatoes to cool to room temp, gently stirring to evenly coat with dressing. When cool, add remaining ingredients and chill well before serving.
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.