Monday, September 7, 2009

The Recipe for Togetherness

This week, for our Sunday cookery, Ian and I made lamb cassoulet. The recipe came from our Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (the red and white checkered one that just about every American cook has lying around somewhere) and, man! was it good. And relatively good for us, too, which jives well with our diet--unlike the movie popcorn and ice cream sundae we indulged in earlier in the day...

You see, Ian's and my lives have been complicated lately. Stressful. He has, as usual, a daunting amount of work to do at his day job plus this semester's graduate school course to keep him more than busy (he's been chipping away at his MS for a couple of years now...three more to go!). On top of that, I (usually only beleaguered by household chores and imaginary blogging deadlines) have been set on the track towards grad school, too--only my school is an hour and a half away. We've been moving me into my part-time apartment with my part-time roommate, though I'll still technically "live" with Ian, I've been inundated with school-related emails both professional and social, and have been desperately trying to figure out how I might end up juggling my two worlds. That, on top of our attempts at dieting, has meant that many meals have been spent apart, and those that have been more complicated than buzzing up a Slim Fast shake in the blender have not been cooked together.

I guess the reason I'm telling you all this is to justify the breaking of our diet. Also, it might give you a better picture of how happy I was to cook with my husband last night.

We chopped the veggies and browned the meat, and when I needed a skillet from the cupboard by Ian's knees I didn't push him out of the way but kindly asked that he scoot to the side for a moment. We had a couple of beers (another diet faux-pas...oh well) and waited for the meal to cook...several hours, actually, of beans soaking and stew bubbling. There was a strange sense of patience in the air. Maybe it was the movie popcorn keeping our bellies full, belaying the need for a quick dinner. Maybe it was the three-day weekend. Or maybe we were just glad to have a calm moment together, without worrying, without anything to accomplish but a lovely dinner and an evening in front of the TV. Dinner was served around 10:00 pm. We usually eat at 6:00.

So I guess absence--or maybe it's just stress--does make the heart grow fonder. More patient. I know the next year or two will bring many nights apart from my dear husband, and I know that our meals will be rarely eaten or prepared together, but that's actually why I started this blog, this idea of cooking together every Sunday (I know I write a lot of other junk, too, but that was the original point)--I knew this time would come when Ian and I would be torn apart by our schedules and I wanted something we could do together every week; something we could bond over. Forgive my corniness but I think we'll find the recipe for togetherness.

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