Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cooking for One

My friend in Chicago wanted to bring a car from Chicago to their second home in Houston and she didn't want to do the drive alone.  It was in the late 80's and I was still traveling a lot. I had a trip that would take me to Chicago so rather than fly home, I drove back to Houston with Helen.

Early in the morning we packed the car and Helen put all the road maps where she could get to them. This was back in the days before GPS. Helen liked to know where she was at all times. It made her feel secure and safe. Our plan was that we were going to drive to Pulaski Tennessee and spend the night with my cousin. Somehow there had been a miscommunication and my cousin had gone to a football game but she said for us to go to her Mother's house and we could get the key. Her Mother, my Aunt Lucille, was my favorite Aunt. Uncle Charlie had died a number of years before so she lived alone in an apartment in the center of Pulaski. It was in an old well-maintained building and had a wonderful spirit about it. I had driven from Texas to Tennessee several times to see her because she was getting up there in years.

Helen and I drove to the apartment and knocked on the door. Aunt Lucille opened the door and greeted us like she had been expecting us for weeks. She had this great smile and a shy laugh. Soon she was asking us if we had eaten dinner. No, we hadn't but we were going to get a burger or something. No, no! She would not hear of it. She was immediately in the kitchen, taking stuff from the refrigerator and getting out pans. In about 15 minutes we sat down at the table set with china, napkins. There was meat....I can't remember if it was pork chops or meatloaf and at least three vegetables. Ice is the South. And then she even had a home made dessert. I seem to remember a slice of cake. I was amazed at the food she prepared for us. When I asked her if she had cooked for company she told me no. She had cooked it for her dinner. I've never forgotten that night because for the first time I realized that even when there is only one person to cook for that the food can be prepared at home and be delicious.

Now since I'm cooking for one I've often thought of that night with Aunt Lucille and I have realized something just as important as having delicious food and that is, that the act of  planning, purchasing and preparing the food is comforting and satisfying. Setting the table, even for one, with place mat, napkin and a little glass of wine feels good. Although I admit that the first time I sat at the table without Ned was very sad, it now comforts me.

The picture at the top? Well I put that up because it is the first time I've used my big-girl camera in a while. I did use it when I was in Colorado but I don't think I shot anything worthwhile. Basically, my photo-eye hasn't been working since early May. I took the camera with me into town yesterday and exposed about six images. This graffiti caught my eye because of the red heart. We don't usually see objects among the graffiti. I hope this means my photo-eye is waking up.


pitchertaker said...

Just like true love, a true heart never dies. Great story. Don't worry, your eye just needs a little practice to get back into the swing of seeing stuff to photograph everywhere.

Babs said...

Great photo and great story. A good lesson from Aunt Lucille! And, an important one.

Kate said...

A heart is a perfect symbol for a heartfelt post!

debbie said...

Your courage and heart will help you find your eye .... it already has.