Cooking for Other Folks

My family goes out to eat with guests sometimes instead of cooking.  It saves prep time and dishes and stress, and I totally appreciate that.  Oddly enough, there’s also some sort of link between proximity to my house and going out instead of cooking.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure if I’ve ever cooked dinner for my parents.

This weekend includes a visit from my parents, and I made up my mind about something in the last half hour.  Now I just have to convince them.  See, we’re meeting a few people for dinner on Saturday, and I really want to cook for these particular people.  I feel confident that I can prepare a meal without setting off fire alarms or ruining anyone’s day.  Neither of those statements was true a few years ago.  And I want to spend an evening in my cute dining room with my obnoxious dog and four people I like a lot.

Photo by Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman

There’s still the matter of getting the parents on board, however.  Like I said, their perspective is totally defensible.  They would rather hang out with me for an afternoon without dicing and groceries and making me work.  They want us to enjoy being relaxed together.

But let’s be realistic about how we usually spend our together time.  Sometimes when they visit, my parents help me with big projects like ripping out all of the dead shrubs in my front yard and totally redoing the garden.  Sometimes they repaint a few rooms or we go shopping together on Christmas Eve because we’re all really bad about getting ready for the holidays in a timely manner.  Sometimes we see the sights around town.  Once in a blue moon, we’re blissfully lazy together and we all fall asleep in the living room.

All of that history indicates that there’s a really good chance we’ll be productive on Saturday.  Why not direct some of that productivity towards the kitchen for a change?  Cooking dinner is a heck of a lot easier than totally redoing my front garden bed.

And now for the reason behind the sudden inspiration.  I recently came out of a food-induced coma that didn’t involve me eating a blessed thing.  The Pioneer Woman‘s recipes are powerful like that.  You don’t even have to consume any of the heavy cream and butter to know that as you read her recipes, you’re in the presence of greatness.

The menu options for Saturday currently consist of chicken pot pie and salad, steak salad and bread (plus homemade onion ring type things on top… um, yeah), or chicken parmesan with green beans and possibly a small salad.  All of those options would have pecan pie with ice cream and/or whipped cream for dessert, and all of them are from The Pioneer Woman.

So what do you guys think?  Dinner for five people.  Pre-Thanksgiving celebration with parents.  No need to do the traditional Thanksgiving menu (let’s not get carried away with this cooking thing).  Possibly the first meal I’ve ever cooked for my parents.

*Mom and Dad, when you read this, I’ve always appreciated your desire to treat me to a good meal and save us from washing a thousand dishes.  But hey, I’ve got a kitchen that I like just four steps from the guest bedroom.  You don’t have to make reservations, and you can’t beat the commute.  I say we give it a try.

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