A Cooking First – Inviting My Family Over For Dinner

I’ve been told it’s been noticed that I haven’t been blogging as much lately.  And yes, that is true.

But it doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking.  I’ve been trying new recipes from Pinterest, my favorite cookbook (Looneyspoons), and Food Network magazine.  I’ve just been too busy eating the food to take pictures of the food.

Which is why this isn’t a picture of the meal I’m actually going to be talking about, although I did make the same squash recipe.  I was half way through my plate before it even occurred to me to take a picture of it.  This is actually Thanksgiving dinner I made for Michael and I back in October.  But it’s nicer to have a blog post with something to look at, right?

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So let’s chat.  I did something new that also felt a little scary.

I invited my family over for supper.

Before I even asked them I was nervous.  Would they say yes?  Would they really want to drive two hours here and  then two hours back home just to eat supper?  What would I cook?  Would they like it?  Where would everyone sit?  My apartment had never hosted more than three people at one time before.

But I asked, and all five of them agreed to come.  Even my brother.

That meant I was cooking for six people, all on my own, for the first time.  Now, I’ve helped prepare family meals in the past, but I’ve never been in complete control before.  And besides the odd double date dinner, I usually just cook for myself, or Michael and I.

Six people seemed like a lot.

But I wanted to do it.  I wanted to cook for my family and I wanted to plan the menu.

After some deliberation, I decided on something basic with a little bit of a twist.  My parents are traditionalists when it comes to food.  Meat and potatoes ruled supreme at the dinner table growing up.  And now that my mom, as much as she’d love to, can’t do the cooking anymore and Dad has taken over, I don’t know how often they sit down for a traditional meat and potatoes supper anymore.

The menu I decided on was pot roast with a garlic mustard gravy, mashed potatoes, cheese and macaroni, roasted butternut squash with sage, and green beans.  Oh, and a cherry vanilla crisp with vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert.

And although I used a measuring cup for a gravy boat, my brother and I had to sit on the couch and eat at the coffee table because my dining table only has four chairs, Dad was uncertain about squash being for dinner and thought they were carrots when they were laid out as part of the spread, my brother turned up his nose at garlic being in the gravy, and we kinda didn’t say much about the mustard being in there until after supper, just in case Dad wouldn’t approve, everything turned out pretty well.

I made the crisp after I got home from the gym in the morning.  I didn’t think I’d have the oven space, nor would it be wise to bake dessert in the oven at the same time as the roast.  Wouldn’t want it to end up tasting like beef.  I popped it back in the oven while we were eating to warm it up.  I also prepped the potatoes and squash and cubed the cheese for the macaroni while listening to ’90s Crowd Pleasing Hits on Songza (cooking is always funner with some ’90s tuneage) before they got here so I could actually visit with them once they arrived instead of spending all my time in the kitchen.

So they came.  Olympics were watched.  Settlers of Catan was played.  Supper was ate.  Everything worked out.

I’m glad I didn’t let the nerves or the worry about something going wrong make me chicken out.  I enjoy cooking and I’m glad I had the opportunity to share it with my family.  The next time I invite them over for supper it won’t seem like such a daunting task.  And maybe I’ll even have a gravy boat by then.

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