Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Please Don't Let Me Intimidate You!

As we entered the dining room of our friends' apartment in Istanbul, Turkey, I commented on how beautifully the table was set. "Well, Sharon," she said, "You are an intimidating person to host!"



Me, intimidating?! Oh dear, that's never what I set out to do. My goal is to inspire!

Of course, you might read about our daily family mealtimes, the wonderful conversations we've had, and the way I organized things to serve meals to 10 people three times a day for X number of days and still go sledding, visit a friend in a retirement community... What did you think--I would tell you about the spilled milk, arguments, and burnt chicken? (smile)

Actually, I seldom burn food, my problem is usually undercooked food. Which reminds me of my son's most recent birthday--his last at home. He had the nerve to be born on January 4 which is so close to Christmas that I never got around to celebrating it until July 4--his "half birthday!" (Actually, we celebrated then on purpose, to spread the gifts around. And I did give him a cake and the present from one grandma on his actual birthday.)



But on his birthday two weeks ago he asked for a special meal including tender chuck roast, an outstanding recipe that makes the meat soooo delicious! However, it takes longer, and I mean looooonger, than the typed recipe I have states. The recipe says to have the meat at "room temperature" and in my notes I wrote "IMPORTANT! Out of fridge at least two hours." And it said a two pound roast would take 45 minutes. Since mine was three and a half pounds, I figured I should double the time. Please tell me why I didn't look this up in a cookbook to compare cooking times??

Time to serve the food to the crowd of family we were having over--I think there were eleven of us--and the meat thermometer said it was "medium done" so we took it out and began slicing. The meat was so raw that the electric knife could barely cut through it.



Eating on time was important because an hour and a quarter later, ten more people were coming to devour the two angel food cakes I'd made. So we sliced the meat and stuck it under the broiler to brown it. I have to tell you, the parts that were done were delicious.

But when I watched my mother-in-law at the end of the table trying to eat a piece of bright red meat, I signaled to my husband who was sitting by her and he switched it out for a piece that was more done. 



The worst part of this is that my son and his fiance were busy running some of the multitude of errands they need to do before their wedding on Saturday and I, somewhat testily, texted them asking them to get home right away because we needed to eat on time. And then the food wasn't ready. (blush)

The point of this story is please do not feel intimidated by me. I am just a mom trying to bring my family together around the table. The good, the bad, and the raw all bring serve to bring us closer, and that's my goal.



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Remember to like the Around the Table Book Facebook page to get a conversation starter question every week day.

Linking with these blogs.



24 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this story! So often I think many of us shrink back from hospitality because of the mistakes we've made and how foolish we felt. I still feel embarrassed over some early attempts. It is a learning curve...not too long ago I had to send my husband out for a couple of boxes of fried chicken for our company because the beans in the chili were too hard. (I have since had success with cooking dried beans! Just not the first few times! Haha) It is so important to remember our focus! It's not our culinary skills! The Lord calls us out of ourselves to really know others, to be real and vulnerable with others, to share in our struggles, fears, triumphs, challenges, and lessons we've learned. I also have to remember not to be afraid to invite people over that might intimidate me, that seem "perfect." :) They are real people, with real struggles, and the same need to connect with people.
    Thanks for your blog!

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting and telling your story. I've done hard beans too. I'm grateful for microwaves and broilers when things aren't done! But you are right, it's really about the people.

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  2. haha, thanks Sharon for this story... and for including a picture of our dining room in Istanbul for your blog. Yep, we all sure make mistakes without food... the best thing is to share it with love and patience and another little hint... if you eat later than expected, everyone loves the food... mostly because they're sooo hungry!

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    1. You are welcome, Donna. In South America serving the food late wasn't a problem, but Americans seem to think that the time you invited them to come is the time they should be AT the table. Maybe I should work more on letting them visit before the meal.

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  3. Loved the story! I think we all have our cooking disasters we try to hide! But those disasters do give you wonderful memories to share. My best friend since forever will never forget my first attempt to cook a duck -- it was raw, too! Luckily we had time to just put it back and wait and we have remembered that meal many times and laughed. BTW, I have never since attempted to cook a duck and that must have been about 1973...

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    1. Fun story! I have never tried to do duck. They say disasters make us bond more than good times! Who knows?

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  4. What a wonderful way to share this story! Enjoyed the realistic you showing through. Laughed and smiled, too! Enjoy this week, and the wedding.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Yes, this is a busy week here.

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  5. hahaha, I have a family of 7 5 kids between the ages of 15 and 1, people always mention the cooking but we just do what we do because we have to. I like the half birthday, my three year old is Jan but the rest are later in the year

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    1. When you grow into it, you learn to do it and it becomes normal. You might try the half birthday. Samuel says he enjoyed it.

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  6. It's a good reminder that we are all have cooking disasters! Thank you for sharing!

    So glad you could join us as a co-host for Raising Imperfection today!

    Lanaya
    www.raising-reagan.com

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    1. Thanks, Lanaya. I appreciate the opportunity to co-host. It's good to stay humble.

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  7. Maybe she meant it as a good thing and it just came across not so nice. : ) A compliment for your skills of hosting. Following along with you. http://onecreativeprocrastinatinggal.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks for following! I'm sure she didn't mean it bad, but I don't want anyone to think I think I'm a special know-it-all. :-)

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  8. Eating together is such a sacred time and I agree, no intimidation!, just trying to keep it all together!

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  9. One of our favorite meals to eat together is breakfast! Especially now that Amara is old enough to help cook we have fun making a special breakfast/brunch for when her Mommy and Daddy come to get here. It is fun eating pancakes and sharing with her folks everything we did during our sleep over. Good times!

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    1. That sounds like great fun! Our oldest grandchild is 1 1/2 and lives 4 hours away by car, so Mommy and Daddy aren't ready to let her stay overnight yet, but we had her with us for breakfast every day this last week while we let Mommy sleep in after taking care of her 2 month old during the night. (They came to help with wedding festivities. It was a beautiful wedding.)

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  10. Oh no! Smart way to save the meat (and the meal). Regardless of the number of mistakes or the degree of perfection, family meals are truly some of the best times. You are an inspiration, Sharon! Thank you for sharing this funny story in the GRAND Social.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Someday I'll tell one of my mother's memories of an "oops" in the kitchen by the woman she considered the "hostess with the mostest" while growing up. They are just as good as the "perfect" meal (which I haven't served...yet).

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  11. Hi, I popped over from the Grand Social. What a fun post. It reminds me of the first time I made the Christmas dinner for my in-laws - and the turkey didn't get done on time - Talk about wanting to hide permanently! :) The joys of cooking!

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  12. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story! Loved the text to hurry up and then the meat not done -- so often the way we are reminded to go with the flow. :-)

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