Garden Diary

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The New York Times has taken notice of the family meal

and notes that at least some some surveys indicate that the number of families sitting down for a meal together several times per week has been increasing over the last few years. That's great news! As I blogged earlier, that's something we do often, and it's perhaps the one thing I miss most from our children's younger days, when all five of us gathered around the table. No, it was not always a calm, relaxing time, but it has been formative, for both parents and children, and has been one of the principal forges of the bonds between us. Now that my son Patrick is away at school, we have fewer meals with everyone together. And while we eat together nearly every day, it's sometimes only two of us.

I also feel that it's important that the family meal consist of food prepared by the family. Take out isn't the same. This past week we had mostly restaurant meals and takeout for five days straight because of skating competitions, church events, and the usual run of music lessons and skating practice. I was notably more grumpy than usual!

Last night we got to have a (late for us) sit down meal that Laurie and I collaborated on. Finally! It makes a difference to have food prepared in the house by a member of the family. I've been happy to see my daughter Molly start making meals on Thursdays, the one day she doesn't work or have to go to her college class, not only because it gets me off the hook : ) but because she's gradually learning an important skill that will be a blessing for her own family some day.

Here's last night's recipe, Lenten fast appropriate:
Italian-style Shrimp

1 large bell pepper, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped as above
6 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch lengths

2 Tbs. peanut or canola oil

1-2 pounds shrimp, shelled

2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. oregano

1 pound angel hair pasta

Set a pot of water to boil. Heat a wok or large skillet and when hot add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the peppers and onions, and stir for 4-5 minutes. Add the shrimp, crushed red pepper and oregano, and stir. Add 2 Tbs. water. Cover for 2-3 minutes. Uncover and stir, then cover again.

Now, add some salt to the boiiling water, then cook the angel hair pasta in the boiling water. After 4 minutes or so, drain the pasta, arrange in a pasta bowl, and spoon the stir fry over the pasta. Serve with Italian or any crusty bread.