The Importance of Being Earnest… In Dining

Everytime I drive down my street at dinnertime there’s a particular house that really should be banned from having an open front door. The scents which waft from behind that black screen have a sultry linger in my car the rest of the block.

By the time I get home from work I’m usually not in the mood to experiment with my culinary palette and typically fall into habitual recipes or leftovers… And I like cooking! So what about those gals that are afraid of the flame, or detest the chopping and stirring? Ladies, let us unite in a worthy cause…we can step up our mealtimes! Writer and advocate for feminine force, Virginia Woolfe once said “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Feeding yourself is important! Don’t scrimp on your major source of energy and health. But – you justly ask – how not to spend our entire paychecks?

There’s one tip that’s golden and will save you in a pinch, or a waistline’s cinch: Keep staples stocked. Whatever is healthy for you, won’t break the budget, and that which you often use KEEP THEM IN YOUR KITCHEN! Bread, milk, eggs, cheese, salad, nuts, and fruit are great starters.

Be educated and smart about what you eat so that your skin vegetables (oranges, melons, etc.) can perhaps forgo the organic sticker price while your eggs and milk that more directly affect your hormone levels should get some cushion. Clip those coupons, find the deals, split things at Costco, BUY SEASONALLY, and definitely keep up on the trends so you know you’re prepared for a price drop.

Phase two is USE EVERY PART. The Native Americans were famous for their entire use of an animal in skin, meat, claws (gross, I know, but resourceful), furs, etc.  This week’s challenge is to see how many meals you can make from a cooking a whole chicken including broth and meat. Use some of your vegetable trimmings in a fully-loaded egg hash the next morning.

And while you’re honing your resourcefulness for one, you might be brave enough to stretch that table to include friends. Reign in a dinner party either potluck, dutch, or donation style.

You’re allowed to be elegant…in fact you should! You’d be surprised what the dollar store, thrift stores (Goodwill and Amvets are my favs), and garage sales will offer in terms of eclectic or traditional dishes, tablecloths, candlesticks, even candles!

A nice board game, a creative twist on drinks, and great conversation is good for the soul. Hospitality is a dormant art who loves to be engaged! A clean house will make everyone feel comfortable, an internet radio station is great for background noise or themed-cooking, and your own enjoyment will bring gentle healing to the bullet holes of the busy day.

There is so much benefit in being intentional with our dining. Food is a source of communion with ourselves, the natural world, and each other. Bon Appetite!