a glass of orange juice – freshly squeezed
and kissed by the morning sun.
a plate of pancakes – made with love
and served by a mother’s hands.
a table of upturned faces – tinged pink
and bathed with smiles of pure delight.
a meal shared together – enjoyed heartily
over laughter that echoes ‘til the coming of night.
For me, my family is not just my husband, my kids and I. It also extends to my parents, my brothers and sisters and their families as well as my aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. And, we are a close-knit bunch.
Although we have squabbles and we don’t see eye to eye all the time, we still have those beautiful moments where we enjoy each other’s company while discussing the details of our mundane existence or laughing (or crying) over life’s latest offerings. But, among the times I really enjoy the most are those we share together over a good meal.
These instances may be far and in between, what with us leading different schedules and having our own family issues to deal with. But, when they do happen, they occur with much jubilation that warms our hearts and leaves us with great memories for the years to come.
The meals we share are often simple. Yet, they are all prepared with as much love as we can muster. Although we do not have any baking equipment, which I believe will take our cooking to a whole different level, we do our best to provide dishes that do not only fill our tummies, but also bring a burst of flavors to the palate.
On this fine Sunday though, I woke up late to a raging headache, which rendered me quite useless when it came to the cooking department. So, brunching on some raisin bread and a mug of tea, I went down memory lane to remember and fantasize about meals from the past that I so enjoyed with my family.
A day will never be complete without breakfast. And, this meal is even more important on family Sundays, as it provides everyone the chance to catch up on what went on each other’s lives during the week that had passed or to just simply enjoy putting food in your mouth and masticating it without the hustle and bustle of a weekday.
One particular Sunday, sometime in the distant past, I was able to wake up early enough to prepare a decent breakfast for my lovies. Instead of getting bread from the neighborhood bakery oven, I decided to make pancakes to go along with my kid’s favorite corned beef and scrambled eggs.
The pancake mix may not have been made from scratch, having come from a Pillsbury box, but they provided cakes that were tasteful and fluffy. They went well with the corned beef I sautéed with some minced garlic and sliced onions I browned and caramelized in some canola oil and with the scrambled eggs flavored with just a bit of salt and a dash of lemon pepper. To wash all of this goodness down, there was melon juice with just enough coldness to make your teeth chatter.
It was simple breakfast that oozed with enough care and love to get any day started.
Depending on the degree of hunger and the company, lunch, for me, will always be a light affair. And, it was never much so during that time when I was on a low calorie diet. Until now though, this meal that I prepared upon the request of my mother will always be among my favorites.
Taken with a glass of sassy water, this particular lunch was of herb-encrusted lemon chicken and my own recipe of a veggie-mango salad. The chicken fillet was marinated in lemon juice, salt and pepper and coated with dried basil and oregano leaves, before pan fried in olive oil, while the salad had lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes flavored with the juices from some diced mango.
It was definitely the tastiest and lightest lunch I ever enjoyed with loved ones.
If there is ever a meal in our family that we could all sit down to and enjoy together most often, that is our dinner.
And, one of the dishes I could remember cooking for everyone after a long hiatus from cooking was my own version of mixed veggies. Instead of the usual corn, peas and carrots combination that you can even buy in frozen packs in the grocery, mine was made up of diced turnips, carrots, potatoes and peas cooked with cubed pork fried to the crisp.
It was healthy, hearty and delicious. A dish fit for people who will always have a place in my heart.
For me and my family, meal times are always the best times. These are the moments when we get together as one, sharing a bond and a camaraderie fueled by blood lines, enriched by love.