A Year in Our Kitchen: (Week 2) Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

by Laura on February 27, 2012

in A Year in Our Kitchen, Blog

This the second installment of the A Year in Our Kitchen series. To read our first post, click here.

Every day, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Some days I get a reprieve, and some days it just feels as if I never, ever leave. Although I let others in, for the most part, it is mykitchen. I know where everything is, I stock the kitchen, I plan meals, I produce 95% of what comes out of the kitchen.

Generally, I enjoy my time in the kitchen. It is my stress reliever — but at times, it is also a stress giver. I just don’t want to see it any longer.

And, just like a favored toy, I need a break. I need time to step away from the joy I receive from that toy, and experience something else. For when I return, I always have a greater appreciation for that toy.

That is what recently happened to me.

I was tired of the drudgery of making meals for the family. My early morning kitchen spirit, when I whip up some muffins or scones for the day, when I find inspiration for a day’s worth of food to serve my family, had been deflated. I was tired of being in the kitchen. I was tired of hearing, ‘what’s for snack, what’s for dinner, can I have dessert?” I felt tethered to the kitchen and looked forward to the opportunity to get out!

So, I hopped into the van with the family and headed south to Anaheim, to visit the land where everyone smiles. We were headed to Disneyland and the van was packed with bags of nuts, raisins, power bars, fixings for sandwiches, fresh fruit and wine. We were, whenever possible, going to eat from my kitchen. It was less expensive, and would definitely be healthier. But I still knew somewhere along the line, we’d be purchasing food from  — dare I say it — a restaurant.

Friday night’s trip started off in traffic. We had recently picked the kids up from school and they were hungry for their after-school snack. I obliged with freshly cut apples, raisins, and crackers. But dinnertime called soon thereafter, and In-n-Out beckoned from the side of the freeway, so we took a respite from the traffic to enjoy a little face time with the family.

One thing I am always amazed by (and one thing that just drives me crazy), is the cost of eating out – especially when compared to my own kitchen-made food. But for the weekend, I had to come to terms with this, because we weren’t packing the camping stove, and we were destined to be caught hungry in the land of mouse ears and long lines.

Throughout the weekend, we enjoyed a mix of my pre-prepared snacks and lunches, but also ‘indulged’ in a bit of restaurant fare, something the kids don’t get too often. What I also find happens with my family is that restaurant food tastes drastically different from what we make at home – and what the kids are used to. At times, the actually turn their nose up at what’s put in front of them at a restaurant because it just doesn’t taste like what they got at home. I suppose it is a good problem to have, except when you are beholden to the restaurant world for a few days. Luckily, our pancake and waffle breakfast the first morning went down without a hitch (despite the price tag).

Things went without a hitch, and when we finally arrived home late in the evening, we slid the kids into bed and retired, exhausted from all the excitement. The next morning, as I nursed a Disney hangover, I cringed at the thought of stepping into the kitchen and start producing.

Where was my longing for my long lost toy? Where was my rejuvenated spirit that usually beckons after a few days away?

But, I pushed up my sleeves and dove head first into the fridge, in search of what I could serve the family for the day. No Mickey Mouse pancakes today, it was the quick and easy breakfast of cereal. We all sat down and joined hands to say ‘grace’ and then it hit me, I did find my old toy. No matter what I serve them, when we’re together eating in ‘my’ kitchen, it just feels good.

It didn’t take long, but I realized that the three-day  trip away from home, just made me appreciate the comforts of my own kitchen.

It’s good to be back with my old friend.

 

Read previous A year in Our Kitchen posts:

Week 1: Time Spent in MyKitchen

 

 

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