I have a collection of cookbooks that I rather treasure. Some are pretty old. Some are from my college days. One cupboard is full of assorted Church and community cookbooks. And probably as many as are left on my shelves and in my cupboards have been sorted through and tossed.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a master chef. I just like cookbooks. A place to go when my brain just can’t conjure up one more combination of ingredients to form a meal. I know. The internet and all its search engines and Pinterest pins is amazing and so slick. But sometimes I just like thumbing through a table of contents and turning worn pages and looking at sketches and basic pictures.

Recipe found, the preparation begins. Hmmm. Yellow onion. Nope – it’ll be a red one. No Swiss cheese? Mozzarella and half cheddar will have to do. Spiral macaroni? Nope. Elbow, though. Cream of mushroom soup fills in for cream of celery {one large can instead of the smaller can the recipe suggested} and crushed potato chips instead of corn flakes. Not quite enough chicken to cook and cube but there is a ziploc bag of leftover Thanksgiving turkey in the back of the freezer. That’ll bring the amount up to what the recipe calls for – plus just a bit. Salt and pepper? Yes!!!!!

Once the ingredients are all mixed, I realize it’s too much for the size pan I have greased so I get a larger pan and grease it. Fill it with the combined ingredients and put it in the oven. The instructions say to bake for 90 minutes but I don’t have that much time so I’ll just crank the heat up a bit and hopefully have supper ready in under 60 minutes.

Clean up and wait.

Wah-Lah! Supper is served!

And then I wait for the critique. There’s been no significant gagging. No gulping of the beverage in between bites. Plates are scraped clean. Exasperated, I finally have to beg for the compliment {or complaint}.

LOML: “This was good.”

Me: Nothing. I’m still holding my breath for the “but”.

LOML: “No. This was good. I could have this again.”

Me: Relief. Then total anxiety.

There is now drama as my arms begin crazily circling the dinner table, bat wings flapping, so as to be sure and include the entire meal. I need to make sure my next words are chosen carefully and that the visual aid is inclusive.

Me: “Oh, sweetheart. You will never have “THIS” {visualize the whole arm circling demonstration} again.” I’m not sure I want to include a detailed explanation comparing what the recipe called for and what I actually put in. That could end up being a game changer.

LOML: Just looks at me strange and begins to chuckle. He’s caught on. And we laugh a little.

Later that evening, though, I see the whole mealtime differently as I realize any given day holds so many “THIS”s I will never have or see or feel or enjoy or be mad about again.

When I follow this recipe again, my ingredients will probably still be different…again. My skills will have changed. Maybe I’ll have more time. Maybe less. And I may be feeding a crowd instead of just LOML. That will certainly change the critique at the end!

There are a lot of memes and quotes and advice floating around about making the most of each moment because you never know when it will be your last. I can’t live my life like that, though. Every day I just have to try to be my higher self, repent that night and know in my heart of hearts that if {and when} my ingredients or my finished product or the people I’m eating with changes, I used what I had been given and tried my best.

And be grateful all of it was a part of my life for as long as it was.


So…who dares come to my house for dinner?????

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