Growing up my family was notorious for living on the “package diet” anything that was canned, wrapped, frozen, or bagged was generally eaten at every meal- I know, healthy right? My habits as a young adult continued with what I was used to, because frankly, it was more convenient.No mess, no extra spices I needed to worry about-it was perfect for my singular life, it seemed to be working for me. Then of course, I met my hunny….
Who grew up in a household of women that rivaled that of Martha Stewart and could make a killer piecrust. Intimidating, to say the least. The days of cereal for dinner were gone, because the question that would undoubtedly arise would be, “Well, where’s the protein?” Protein? Hm, hadn’t thought of that, Lucky Charms have marshmallows! My desire to change the eating habits in my household was there- it’s just how to reverse a long line of negative patterns that involved the microwave.
Buying cook books didn’t do the trick, in fact I ended up salivating over photos of quiches, marinated chickens and rich chocolate cakes, then driving to a restaurant where I could order a version that was just as delicious, that didn’t require heavy clean up. The intimidation of My hunny’s family members wasn’t enough either, I just convinced myself that “he loved me the way I was” which was true….but the desire to have my own “signature dish” was still looming over me. Then, I met Giada De Laurentiis….I met her via TV screen, on sick day, chained to my couch with an Airborne in one hand and a strawberry shake in the other.
Giada was cute, hip, relatable- not one of those domestic women that resembled a Stepford wife. Not only was she, eerily “regular,” she managed to make dishes that looked absolutely delectable, I could practically smell them through the screen and get this, they were EASY to make.
Soon enough, I was whipping out my pen and paper- scribbling grocery lists and talking about basil like it was my new best friend (which it is, and it should be yours too- you’ll thank me later.) I was making homemade pesto, proscuitto Paninis; Tuscan white bean soup….and the list kept going. Once I allowed Giada “into my kitchen” the door was open just enough to let the others in as well; Rachel Ray, who taught me that you really CAN make a meal in 30-minutes and your family will love you for it, and that EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) is a godsend. Then there was Sandra-Lee, who has me baking like I’m preparing for a bake sell, and Paula Deen- everyone’s favorite butter-lover.
By opening my mind and changing the belief that being “domestic” was “hard,” the seats at my dinner table started filling up….and so did everyone’s bellies.
Author: Chelsea Latimer