Confession….I’ve Never been much of a cook. I’m not sure why because my own mother was a wonderful cook. She had a delicious dinner on the table each and every night. Between all of our sports practices, music rehearsals and fun youth events, it was mandatory that each night we sat at our table, and shared a meal together. The place where we connected as a family, before we all scattered our separate directions, was always at The table. Whether it was my moms homemade tortillas and carne guisada or her crazy experimental meals like stuffed peppers or chicken fricassee, we told our stories, my dad told his corny jokes, we fought, we laughed uncontrollably, and we connected over her delicious meals.
Fast forward, over 20 years, I love the table for the same and for different reasons. I love the way the table brings together my own family. Not sure what it is about watching my hungry teenage son devour a meal, but it’s extremely satisfying to my soul. I love the no phone zone rule at the table and I love how, when I do cook, my husband applauds me like I just made Julia Child’s version of beef bourguignon (when really I browned ground beef and mixed in a can of cream of mushroom soup, and slathered over rice). Obviously I didn’t inherit my mothers cooking skills. That “being in my kitchen is like therapy” concept never applied to me.
I fell upon a little secret a few years back. My son has always been a picky eater and packing his lunch for school was excruciating because I just couldn’t think beyond a PB&J. One day I made him a snack plate full of mini finger foods and he loved it! For almost all of his middle school years, I packed him “snack plate” lunches- a few apple slices, a dollop of peanut butter, a handful of cinnamon almonds, a few chunks of cheese, a small bag of carrots etc.. It was a hit!
To expand of this, I started playing around with the art of arranging food. I own a flower business so arranging is a passion of mine. For someone like me, stores like Trader joes are a God-send. I can go in and grab a cartful of our favorite finger foods- meats, cheeses, dips and spreads, fruits, veggies, nuts and then take them home and arrange on a board and it feels almost as satisfying as arranging flowers in a vase. Whether it’s an appetizer for guests or a giant “snack plate” for my own family, it’s my go to to add all of our favorite things on one plate. Ok so I still have a long way to go in the cooking department, but I think I’m starting to get this food arranging thing down!