This is Fred.......my hubby of many many years. He is my foundation.
Fred was supposed to pick up three thick cut strip steaks for the grill for dinner tonight. Bless his heart, he got three lean tough top round steaks. They are going sit in a marinade til tomorrow. Fred is special man in many ways. Sending him to the store has always been an adventure. Once I asked for tomato sauce to make a chili and he brought home tomato soup. Close, but no cigar. Fred reads the first part of the word and ignores the rest. It is a trait he has acquired since the strokes that nearly killed him. Fred can not read well and he is easily confused. He suffers with steadily increasing forgetfulness. The prideful man he is, refuses to ask for assistance, no matter what the outcome. He came home with a bottle of Winking Owl Chardonnay, which worked perfectly for the planned shrimp cocktail supper but was vastly different from the Cupcake Chardonnay on the list. Easy confusion there. Alton Brown's brined and broiled shrimp are heads and tails above any other shrimp. They are plump, seasoned and are never ever flabby or tough and the only way I will ever make shrimp again.
Got involved with a conversation with some cyber friends about old loves and lost loves today. The conversation got started because of the two contractors working on our current kitchen remodel are both name Justin and it leads to a lot of confusion and mis-communication. This is, however, no worse than when I worked with several fellows named Ed. Five men named Ed working in one kitchen lead to chaos at Rollande et Pierre in 1974. You would call out "Ed, I need my ----" and it was a chorus of voices answering you. This brought to mind the saga of the "Ed" twins who were a wonderful and equally awful part of my life. I very nearly married one of them. I was 19, and was literally left at the alter with a 500.00 dollar ivory chiffon empire waist dress with fingertip sleeves in lace (a fortune in 1976) and a china service for 24 (That I just trashed in the dumpster this year, it was never used, and it had too many bad memories to keep). I found out days later after the abandonment that Ed #1 had two other girlfriends and both were pregnant. 'Nuff said. Dodged a bullet with that one. His twin brother had taken me to my Senior prom and was a perfect gentleman. Naturally, I fell hard for the other brother, the one with the devil in his eye. Both of them had gorgeous full heads of auburn hair, freckles and clear green eyes. Oh my goodness, be still my beating heart..
Anyway, I showed my saved china pattern to my daughter this summer, told her the story behind it and asked if she would care to have it for her "hope" chest. She told me "no". Too much pain and too many bad things happened to mommy while that china was in the house. Perceptive girl, she is. Tried to sell it, but there were no takers and even ChinaFinders deemed the pattern worthless. Noritake Silver Palace circa 1976. According to ChinaFinders, which is a local china pattern locator, right down the street from Painting With a Twist, told me they had oodles and oodles of pieces for my pattern and it wasn't worth much. So it got the old heave ho into the dumpster. It was cathartic and cleansing to have it shatter into as many pieces as my heart was shattered long long ago. It also, pinpointed how clearly to me how my daughter, Liv doesn't have that kind of "entertaining gene" in her. The idea of a special china pattern means nothing to her. She would rather have an "experience". I don't see her caring about a whether the table linens are pressed or if the dishes even match. Setting a table to her is an odious chore.
It was always one of my favorite things to do to help my mom. I loved the feel and translucency of the fine china in my hand, polishing the silver til it gleamed and it was about the only time you would find me with an iron in my hand...ironing and starching the napkins so I could fold them in fancy patterns. Funny those things were fun to me and I loved the civility of a fine table. But I never could get totally behind the idea of a fine china left only for special occasions, every day should be special day. Company isn't the only reason to use the "good stuff" You should use the "good stuff" for your family and yourself too. Even if you set the table for one. One need not be the loneliest number you ever hear. Treating yourself well only on a special day leads to gradual loss of self. When you stop caring about the things that matter to you, it sends the wrong message to your own pysche. Lack of caring for yourself snowballs into a lack of caring for the things around you and that will perpetuate a feeling of unworthiness. If you feel you aren't worthy of being cared for, it becomes a vicious cycle of self-defeating behavior. That is a terrible thing to do to the wonderful creation you are, a child of a Higher Being, with a purpose and unconditional love from the universe, even if it isn't apparent in the everyday. Each of us is miraculous in a unique sense and have an intrinsic value that should be nurtured and cherished. You should have things you love to touch and look at every day to give you that sense of satisfaction and well being. If your food is continually shoved at you through a fast food window, you become desensitized to taste and it leads to a lethargy towards life beyond cooking and the pleasure of a good meal prepared with caring loving hands. Cheaper does not always mean better. Yes, it will take more time and effort but who better to care for your well-being than yourself. Responsibility for what you eat is a choice that lies within.
As I get ready to put the everyday practical Corelle in the dishwasher, it reminds me of the difference in the loves of my life. Corelle isn't as exciting or quite like the china I longed for and never used, but it is a dish I can live with daily and appreciate the ease of care and lightness. My dishes are like my Fred.....he may not be as devilish as the Ed of my past, but he is the foundation of my soul. He is my dear husband for better for or for worse, in sickness and in health. He has been a rock of support and generous of heart, loyal and loving for 28 years. I'm truly blessed. Who needs that fine china, afterall?
Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.