Sharing a meal with loved ones employs all of our senses in a way that few other experiences do. Clearly, we smell and taste the food, we see its presentation, feel the weight of the silverware or the texture of the food in our hand, and we typically engage in conversation. Because of this, we often have clearer memories of these moments.
I fondly remember the early years after our wedding, when my husband and I were newlyweds.
He was in law school, and we were living in our “starter home” with our rescue pup. I still had subscriptions to Cooking Light and Southern Living (and even the luxury of time to read them) and would test out recipes in the evenings as we cooked together in the kitchen, sharing a bottle of wine.
One of our favorites that makes an appearance at least one Friday every Lent (and often throughout the year) is Shrimp Orzo.
It started with my husband and I enjoying this meal with a fresh green salad and crusty French bread, a bottle of Pinot Grigio. I still remember the bright blue kitchen, the smell of the basil, fresh from my container garden, and Norah Jones or John Mayer on the CD player.
Fourteen years later, and my kids like to pick out the tomatoes and eat ONLY the pasta and shrimp.
Salad may or may not accompany it (I mean, at this point, I’m the only one eating the salad), but the bread is still a staple. The kitchen isn’t the same cool blue, and the soundtrack is, on a good day, my kids either laughing and playing (or, on a less good day, picking at each other – just depends on the day!).
I hope that someday, one or both of my kids will remember this meal. Maybe they will smell basil and remember picking it out along with the tomatoes from the pasta. Maybe they’ll have orzo at a restaurant and remember the first time they had it at our home. I rather hope that they won’t recall squabbling while their mother was cooking. Most of all though, I hope they will remember the family dinner with their loved ones.