OK, OK. You aren't even supposed to BE on diets. You are supposed to be in a new LIFESTYLE. You are supposed to be changing direction that is ONGOING and a diet is a time period, or whatever. Or as Garfield would point out, it is a nasty word with the word DIE in it. But I digress (as always...)
So diets or changes or new outlooks or whatever you want to call what you are doing with yourself and food and those too tight shorts from last summer- they need a vacation. From time to time one needs to say, On this day- whatever goes. And I tell you why: wonderful things happen over food and you don't miss it when you are just going with the flow. And you don't spoil it by being in a sugar free rage. And you don't insult anyone when you chow down.
I have spent this Memorial Day weekend with 80% of my family in a house my parents designed and had built. I have brought friends to this house. And even though the place is huge and filled with couches and soft chairs and a space with a pool table, everyone ends up in one of 2 places- on the bricks (fair enough with the water views and sun shining and beers) or in the kitchen.
This kitchen was my mother's vision. She said everyone is always in the kitchen in every house everywhere. This includes my tiny kitchen in my house- people stand around jammed in there until I push them into other more larger spaces. My mom got rid of any thought of a dining room and made a gargantuan kitchen and threw a round table in it. THEN, when that wasn't enough, she had a man build a round table cover that was larger than the table and fit over the table to make it even bigger when the house was packed with peeps. We can seat 10 to 18/20 people that way. The kitchen is always filled when people are here. Over cocoa puffs and coffee, newspapers and donuts, lunches with bag of chips thrown in the center of the circle, 5pm with drinks and dips, and dinner with long talks during and long talks after, while various people are washing and scraping and tupperwaring. This table is our home.
Of the 5 Burke children, 4 love to cook. There is a definite hierarchy of who cooks. Dave first, Ter sous. Ter cooks, Owen sous. But every now and then it gets to be me, mom sous. Generally when we cook, we automatically are doing a healthy thing by knowing what we are making, and what is going in it. But I sometimes have to look between my fingers at what my brothers are doing. That was 2 sticks of butter. Really? Buttered steak? How much cream was that? (seriously, 2 sticks of butter?).
Oh but the eating is so fine. The conversations so funny, so intellectual. The food is rich and that heel of bread is just left on the cutting board for you to snag. Say yes to one more glass. Get filled with the food and the company. Say yes to desert. (Say no to the sambuca. Do that for yourself.) Agree to a longer walk tomorrow and another piece of cheese tonight. This isn't every day. It doesn't count if it is every day. But let it be now when all that good stuff is going on.
I cooked tonight- a great seafood stew (whose recipe will be available to y'alls at some point). What is great is I know it was very healthy and fresh. And that bread was perfectly crusty. And that birthday cake was just so box made perfect (Why F that up by going by scratch??) and I passed on the ice cream on the side (because I had ice cream after mini golf already, but who is counting?) and we all sat there and chatted, and remembered, and laughed, and learned something new. And there wasn't one bit of salad anywhere and I am still alive.
Happy Summer, Curvies et al. To a great season of cookouts, get aways, and friends meeting at the creameries.