Friday nights mean dinner out with the gang. I'm not sure when that tradition started but for Wayne and I it's a practice that started decades ago with a different circle of friends. I like that it's continued, not just because I get a night off from kitchen chores but because food tastes better when you're eating it with good friends. And it was especially good to be joining them for dinner tonight.
I have, however, done my share of "slaving over a hot stove" this past couple of weeks. This was our first night going out since Wayne's surgery and while I've collected a few "to go" meals along the way, I've done plenty of cooking too. I tried out a new recipe or two (none worthy of being repeated) but I reverted to some good old comfort food for a couple of meals, too.
Like chicken and homemade noodles. It's been years and years since I made noodles...we just don't eat that way anymore. But man, were they good all simmering with tender morsels of juicy chicken in that rich brothy gravy. I had to improvise a bit since I no longer have the big pastry sheet I used to use to roll out the noodles and cut them but they still turned out just the same.
My mother used to caution me not to cut them too big or they'd be dumplings, like dumplings were a bad thing. I'm a Southern girl now so I'm fine with dumplings but I still cut the dough into nice, thin noodles with my mother's voice echoing in my mind. Some habits never die.
And all those familiar flavors when we ate them...it was like dishing up warmth and good memories on a plate. It seems silly to say that a serving of chicken and noodles could ooze comfort but it did. As we shoveled in one delicious bite after another, we talked about our moms and grandmothers and how often they'd served this same dish or others like it. Nothing fancy, nothing gourmet, just good food. Comfort food. I'm sure we both could see in our minds' eyes those beloved women standing at their kitchen stoves or being the last one to sit down at the dinner table. The memories might have been even better than the food.
The extra-cold weather was the perfect excuse to dip into the way-back machine and pull out a menu from yesterday. That and a desire to offer a little something special to my hard-working patient. There are times when food does more than nourish the body; it nourishes the soul as well. This was one of those times.