If the presentation is beautiful, chances are great that I will enjoy eating what is on my plate. Now, there will always be a place in my heart and my belly for a sloppy ladleful of sausage gravy over biscuits, but short of that, I try to plate it pretty. When food looks nice, when it’s sliced carefully and arranged courteously, it feels like love. Mr. Take a year is great about precise cutting, chopping and display – uniformity rules. I am more of a get R done kind of kitchen prepper. It is universally accepted truth that everything tastes better when someone makes it for you which is true of the dishes he prepares for me. However, when I take my time and go carefully, even dishes I make myself inch closer to that benchmark. Tonight, I took my time and carefully plated salads for us both. Composed with care, it was one of the best things I have ever eaten and I made a mental note to do more of that.
On the flip side, one day I had been running around all afternoon and came home famished. The kids’ backpacks were on the island in the kitchen and I grabbed their homework to set it out for them. I took the time to get them ice waters, fresh sliced fruit and string cheese and put a tray on the dining room table for them. I let the dog out and started a load of laundry and sharpened pencils and started to boil water for pasta. My hunger mounted. Instead of making a little side plate of fruit for myself, I emptied the kids’ lunchboxes out of their backpacks and spied a half-eaten bag of Doritos. Nearly starving, I emptied the bag into my mouth and felt my daughter’s eyes on me… When I made eye contact, she stared at me completely bewildered and with her mouth fully open. I quickly apologized for eating her leftover snack and promised I would get more chips tomorrow, but she just shook her head. “I dropped the bag of chips on the cafeteria floor and picked them up and put them back in the bag” she blurted out in one breath before starting to cry…and that, friends, is why I now try to plate it pretty and most importantly, THROW THE SCRAPS IN THE GARBAGE.