Family Dinners

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Preparations
In the early days of our coupledom it was both of us in the kitchen. Chopping, frying together. He had his specialities and I had mine. When I started working from home, I did the cooking whilst he commuted home. It was my chance to wind down, listen to In Tune on radio 3, and create whatever I felt like for dinner.

Now with a toddler about, dinner preparation is sporadic. I may do a few things during the day – get the beans boiled, scrub the potatoes, chop an onion, have a little helper snap the asparagus with me. And then when Daddy arrives, I try to slip into the kitchen as soon as possible to get dinner ready before it gets too late, before the toddler is too hungry, before the toddler demands me back. Some nights that is how it feels. I slip away to get a few sacred moments to myself worried that my revery will be shattered at any time. Other days I am open to the intermittent hugs, or sips of ‘bobo’, or games of pretend that are required in the middle of my cooking. Lately I have been unworried by the time, knowing that it’ll all get done. You see, the toddler is getting older and although I may be called away a lot, I know I will be able to get back to it.

Occasionally I don’t get back to it and Daddy pitches in. After nearly three years of his having to consult me at every step (I almost never cook from a recipe, so the recipes were all in my head), we now have a chalk board in the kitchen and I have started writing up the menu so that now, when he needs to take over, everything that needs doing is on there. It works beautifully.

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Dinner is Served
Ding ding ding goes the dinner, I shout upstairs as I take the plates to the table. Most days this brings Daddy and daughter to the table, perhaps after a short delay to finish a game. Some days she says she is not ready and I eat the hot meal by myself. Usually they appear before I finish. When the toddler does make it to the table, her first words are ‘read a book.’ So one of us reads whilst the others eat. It is not the family talking time that I have in mind as ideal, but it keeps her at the table and eating for a little while and means that both of us can eat (well, I don’t mind reading with my mouthful but my husband is a bit more polite).

Occasionally now, she even gets down and plays by herself whilst we talk about our days which is rather amazing.

The Gluten Free Girl
This is not a typical post for me, but I’m doing this as part of Shauna’s let’s talk about family dinner Monday. The Gluten Free Girl website has been so immensely useful to me in the last 11 months (yep it is almost a year gluten free!), that I wanted to participate as a way of saying thank you. They are promoting their new book which I know will be as great to read as it is to cook from. I am thinking it might be a good happy one year of gluten free present to myself. Anyway if you know anyone who is gluten free point them in the direction of this cookbook: The Gluten Free Girl Every Day.

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