Happy Labor Day Weekend Kitchen Scout readers! Can you believe it is September? Where did the summer go?
I had a restaurant review ready to go for this week’s post, but I happened to be looking back at some of the drafts I have written and not published over the past year or so, and found the one I am sharing this week. I had forgotten about it, but it is timely for many reasons, especially if you love tennis or if you struggle to get a meal on the table on occasion.
Speaking of tennis, my husband and I are attending the U.S. Open in New York, something we have always loved to do together when presented with the opportunity. I am personally a big fan of Serena Williams and hope she completes the Grand Slam by winning this tournament. While in New York, I will be snapping some photos for my Instagram to let you know what restaurants we are trying out so follow along if you want!
I hope you enjoy this “food related” post and would love to know what you think in the comments. I asked a friend to take a peek at it and provide some feedback. She thought it was timely as we all look at increasingly busy fall schedules and hope we can try to be all things to all people. She also said “We find so many ways to beat ourselves up for perceived inadequacies and this is a great message to not do that”. I agree. Thanks, BV!
Until next week…
Written in September, 2014…
Serena Williams won the U.S. Open this past weekend, her 18th grand slam singles title. In doing so, she tied the record held jointly by Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, and also achieved by Steffi Graf who holds 22 titles.
Also since my last post, the iconic Joan Rivers passed away and was laid to rest.
I cried on both occasions.
I’ve been thinking about both women this week. Although they are worlds apart in so many ways, they share something in common that applies to the kitchen and how we approach cooking either for ourselves or the ones we love. Their common thread came into view when I read an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled, When Family Dinner Doesn’t Satisfy. The piece mostly focuses on a study done by a sociologist and her team about the family meal, its mystique, its merits and its disadvantages. The piece’s author references other sites where discussions about the family meal have appeared, all of which make for interesting reading when you have the time.
One of the comments came from a woman who said “Nothing has made me feel like a failure more than the “dinner” issue, specifically my failure to provide a home-cooked, sit down meal most nights”.
So, what does this have to do with Serena Williams and Joan Rivers?
What is remarkable about both women is that they have bucked the norm, paved their own paths to success, beat to their own drummers, and never looked back with regret.
From the beads in her hair when she was young, to the big jewelry, cutting edge fashion and full-on manicures, Serena has never apologized for being who she is or how she approaches her career. She has always participated in the tennis world on her own terms and worked extremely hard, and for that she has been enormously rewarded because she has been true to herself in the process. I say Brava.
Same for Joan Rivers. She was controversial almost every day of her nearly four decade career, working hard and entertaining those who would listen. But that was the whole point. She was honest and never apologized for her style or approach to her career. And for that she was enormously rewarded.
So why can’t the same principles apply to the kitchen? I think they have to.
I grew up in a home where I was fortunate to eat both breakfast and dinner on an almost nightly basis with both of my parents. My father’s work allowed him to be home for both meals, and my mother always cooked from scratch. I wanted the same for my family but with my husband’s work schedule, my children’s sports and other activities when they were younger, and the demands of volunteer work, that wasn’t going to be possible. I would be fibbing if I told you I never ordered a pizza or purchased something ready made on occasion. I’m human after all!
So why can’t we just agree that we are going to approach meals either for ourselves or for our families the way WE choose to. Why do we have to conform to the notion that society has placed on us to sit down at 6:00 PM and enjoy a rushed meal together that was cooked from scratch? Is that the only way to “the best family” award? If you eat at intervals because someone has a club soccer practice or you have a volunteer meeting, is the world going to fall apart? If you purchased your meal at the supermarket or a gourmet shop, does that mean you are a terrible person?
I argue no.
Many families have figured out that if their kids eat cereal or a peanut butter sandwich for dinner on occasion, they will survive. And smart ones know that sitting down to a meal is not the only way to have quality time with your family. Hikes, skiing, playing board games, going to a museum or even watching a movie together have to count.
So I say, let’s all take a page out of Serena and Joan’s success stories, and let’s approach feeding ourselves and our families the best way we can. Let’s do it our way, because ultimately, that’s the best way. And for that, you will be rewarded.