A Resolve for the New Year: Learning to Embrace (A Year in Our Kitchen 2013)

by Laura on January 8, 2013

in A Year in Our Kitchen 2013

Last year I began a series A Year in Our Kitchen – but only shared 8 posts. This year, my resolve is to post one a week, starting with today.  We hope you join us for the adventure. Happy 2013.

As the first week of 2013 comes to a close, I still find myself in the midst of the celebrations. I haven’t stopped, and I’m afraid to say, that I haven’t had the chance to relax and enjoy.

It all starts mid September, as I begin to to dread the arrival of October, knowing that I must start planning for Halloween costumes and our annual pumpkin carving party, while still maintaining the juggling act of soccer season and everything else kid-related.

As soon as that ‘event’ passes, the big ball continues to roll into the next holiday. And, of course, this year, we added a 10-day trip to visit family in Oklahoma, while

I tried to keep up with Coffee Universe, my other freelance projects, and the finalizing of the Family Eats redesign.

We quickly moved into December, starting off with Greg’s knee surgery in early December, and the twins’ birthday at the end. In between it all, we baked cookies and fudge, decorated the house, made homemade Christmas cards, saw Santa and the Nutcracker, welcomed family for the holidays, and wrapped and wrapped presents for the big day.

The days have slipped by, the kids are happy, Greg has thanked me profusely for bringing it all together (while he was busy working and recovering), and I feel relief that it is almost over, but also regret that I didn’t participate more in things . . . I feel as if I conducted, planned, and executed, rather than enjoyed, relaxed, and embraced.

It wasn’t all a wash, I enjoyed so much of the season, but there was always something beckoning on the near horizon that required my participation., my planning, my directing.

This year, I make a resolve to embrace the moments a bit more. I’ll still plan, conduct, and execute, but I’ll do so with me in mind . . . allowing me to better participate – and enjoy – these events. To stop and remind myself of what is important and find the joy in all I do. I will keep the important parts, and do away with the extras. Because right now, I feel as if I need a vacation from being cruise director for the holidays.

Things are winding down a bit, but not totally finished. This week, family is still in town staying with us. In a few short days, Nicole will celebrate her birthday and there is also her request for a few friends to sleep over. The logistics of January are beginning to give me a headache.

Through it all, there is warmth and love. The cakes baked, the birthday dinners cooked, the New Year’s celebration with friends, and today – it’s the competing smell of chili and chowder in the kitchen.

I know, it’s an odd combination, but it is on that reminds me of how food makes us happy and brings us together.

Following our traditional New Year’s Eve dinner – delivery from Joe’s Stone Crabs in Miami, Richard was inspired to use the spent crab shells to make a soup. Me, I am not much of a fish eater (although I have no problem enjoying those stone crab claws), so I half-heartedly said, “OK, go ahead.”

I could see his mind working, thinking about how he was going to create the soup. He pulled out an old Emeril Lagasse cookbook and used the Creole Corn and Crab Bisque recipe as inspiration. He promptly set out to create the broth with the spent shells, and immediately the house began to smell . . .  or, as I call it (and so did that kids) ‘stink.’ [Remember: I’m not a fish eater, and am not fond of the fishy smell].

Despite the kids’ pleas for me to turn the soup off and get the smell out of the house, we endured, allowing Richard his labor of love. I could see that he was embracing the process of creating a soup from shells that were destined for the trash.

By the time he started adding the seasonings, the vegetables, and other fixings the chowder aroma became bearable, and his excitement over the results became quite palpable. He was enjoying and embracing the process.

In the hectic day-to-day of our lives, I often find that the meal-making is getting in the way of me relaxing.  I am certainly not embracing the process of meal-making as much as I used to, and at times think of it as a chore.

But wait, isn’t cooking therapeutic? And that’s what Richard’s chowder making reminded me of – the need to embrace the moment, and enjoy the process . . then share that experience with others.

He did share his chowder — with Greg and my son, while the rest of us had chili – a meal that I embraced making, as it gave me much relief knowing that I wouldn’t  have to eat the chowder.

For those seafood lovers out there, here is the recipe that inspired Richard’s creation.

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