This post is my “public service” contribution to your feed this morning. I will probably have something more serious and “on point” to say later, but go ahead and enjoy this indulgent offering for now.
One problem with “foodie” writing is the fact that I often forget to take a photograph. Cooking can be intense, and the last thing I’m usually thinking about when I’m plating something delicious is grabbing a camera. The point of great food is the serving, sitting down to eat together enhances the connection.
Consequently, Wednesday evening’s delicious paella – which also presented very nicely – was prepared, served, and consumed without posing for a picture. Next time, I promise!
Avoid Social Distancing at home!
I do have four other meals to share, and this is the point I want to make: This time of COVID-19 social distancing is extremely difficult for everyone. So let’s make sure and go out of our way to avoid any distance within our own household. One of the best ways to do this is to enjoy eating together.
This means having the television off during mealtimes. Then, set a nice table; or at least make the kitchen counter as attractive as possible. It means looking at one-another, not our electronic devices. Have some great conversation starters in mind. Extend the meal with a family devotional time together. Imagine this is a dinner party, and bring that sense of intentional festivity to being together over a meal.
In other words, great food and good conversation can be a critically important element of making whatever level of isolation/quarantine we are dealing with not only manageable but productive.
Social isolation is “lemons” – eating together can be “lemonade.”
“There is never any excuse for a bland meal.” I’m sure some celebrated chef once said something like that (if not, I’ll own it!). Here are four recent examples that Rebekah and I enjoyed over the past few days:
- The classic steak: You can’t beat a tenderloin grilled to perfection then served with roasted potatoes and a mixed-greens salad. My personal twist is to use a ribbed cast-iron skillet and grill my steak right there in the kitchen.
- Swordfish steak: This time I included a wide, flat linguini with a homemade white sauce and mixed veggies on the side. With a simple béchamel sauce, add parmesan cheese, dillweed, sea salt, and garlic. It’s great both on the pasta and the fish.
Grilled chicken salad: Leafy greens don’t “hoard” well, so there’s always the chance to score some fresh ones next trip to the grocery. My plan typically involves a follow-up to whatever was grilled yesterday. Steak, chicken, shrimp. Just make sure there is enough for a second meal. The key here is to serve hot meat on top of a cold salad. With the chicken, we think the salad works best with feta cheese, cashews, tomato, and a tangy Caesar dressing.
- Baked ziti: I’ve written more extensively about this before (Baked Ziti and Unimaginable Wealth), so all I’ll say today is this, “Good Bake Ziti is more than worth the effort of doing it right.
And this is the point. If we are going to have to be home and on top of each other and stuck in this “Social Distancing” framework, then for goodness sake let’s do it well. Let’s make sure we are serving great food, and that we are intentional when it comes to making not just the food special but each other.
Not just ziti… but “Good family is more than worth the effort of doing it right.”
Peace, love, grace, and hope – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.