Friday, November 19, 2010

Made With Love

My Chef and I have a little routine that we play out every time it's my turn to cook. Sometime during diner he will compliment my culinary growth. I am sure this is to encourage the practice. It doesn't work, but I love him for trying. Then he follows up with the same question: What's your secret ingredient?  Knowing full well that my go-to spices are salt and pepper. However, sometimes when I am preparing a really complicated dish (read multiple ingredients using more than two steps), I will get fancy and use a McCormick seasoning packet. Regardless of the dish, my answer to his question is always the same: It's made with love.

Sorry if you just threw up a little bit.

So yesterday afternoon I might have been feeling a little guilty on accounta all the nights the past two months that My Chef has come home from a long day of work to me wearing pajamas with no plan to fix dinner.  I look in the cupboard and see my good friend McCormick Meatloaf Spice and know exactly what I must do.

As I am squishing the raw egg, beef and bread crumbs between my fingers I see some of it go under my wedding band. Out of the blue a warm nostalgic blanket wraps around me and I see my mother. She is taking off her wedding ring and setting it on the kitchen counter above the sink prior to washing her hands. As a child I would watch her make dinner. I loved watching her form the loaf, patting it on each side, making it nice and smooth. Then she would go to the sink to wash again and put on her ring. It's a simple memory. My mother making dinner for her family.

My heart swelled a little as I thought of her ring. The ring my father had designed for her. The ring that embodied the love my parents felt for each other. The kind of love I held out for and found years and years after my father passed away. The very ring that My Chef asked for along with my hand in marriage because he knew how very much it meant to me. The very ring that I was now getting raw beef under.

My dreamy trip down memory lane was abruptly interrupted by the cries of my hungry babies. I hurriedly dished out the meatloaf, which was more like meatcrumbles, along with it's under seasoned side dish of acorn squash. I set the table and we sat down as a family. Midway through dinner, My Chef thanks me for making a delicious dinner and asks me what is my secret ingredient. I smile and I mean it when I tell him. It's made with love.


  1. That bought a tear to my eye, Niks! I also smiled a little, because, I too, am not a very good cook and I always tell my family that things are 'made with love'.

  2. ahh.. I love these little stories. This too brought a tear to my eye :)

  3. Nikki, You always brighten my day! This morning you touched my heart in a very special way...I too, watched my mother cook each night. She and my father have both passed, all that is left are the memories. I find myself crying & smiling at the same time. Even after being married to Brian (an Executive chef for over 30 yrs. & F&B director) for over 15 years I still try to make dishes to his standards...Although I have come to the realization that I will never be the chef he is, my "secret" ingredient will ALWAYS be my Love for him!! Have you started your book yet???? I don't think I'm the only one waiting for it!!! Happy Holiday's