Monday, October 10, 2011

A Quiet Friday Evening

Cooking can really feel like a chore. There are times when I can barely drag my butt to the kitchen. The end of a long, busy week makes me crave a quiet, lazy Friday evening. Take-out never sounded so good.

But we live in rural North Carolina now. The nearest Chipotle is a long way away. Don't even mention Chick-Fil-A, which was pretty much our go-to to-go in Waco. It would take us an hour and a half to get there.

But something happens when you don't have an easy solution at your fingertips. You get creative. You dust off long-bookmarked recipes that have been languishing on the shelf. You finally pull those ears of fresh corn on the cob (a little welcome to town gift) out of the freezer. You add a little curry powder, some red potatoes, lots of bright lemon juice, chicken broth. Things start to bubble and a smile spreads across your face.

You grab that half loaf of french bread left over from Thursday night's dinner party and start slicing it into thick hunks. Slathered with butter. The real thing. You scavenge the fridge and come up with a few different cheeses. Smooth Provolone. Holey Swiss. Salty Parmesan. You layer those on, then add several paper thin slices of ripe tomato, the remnants of summer, then more cheese. You grill it all to golden-brown melty-molten perfection and start to shimmy, just a little bit. Because sometimes the joy of anticipation just can't be contained.

Then you put it all on a big tray because, goodness knows, at the end of such a long week you don't want to sit stiff and formal at the dining table. Friday nights call for cushion-squashing, snuggling deep into the confines of a comfy couch, and being too lazy to take the empty dishes back to the kitchen quite yet. And yes, the dishes are empty. Practically licked clean, because everything was so darn delicious.

And you find that something magical has happened. You're not so tired, drained, week-weary anymore. You've been refreshed, restored. Nourished. Fed. You are content and deeply at peace. And (if you are a cat-whisperer like Keith here) you are also surrounded on all sides by purring kitties.

Happy Monday everyone. Hope your weekend was long, luxurious, and as sweetly, simply restful as ours was.

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