Friday, April 17, 2015

Love and Marriage

On the iPod, "Good Lovin (feat. Miguel) By: Ludacris

One of my good friends is right in the middle of a crossroads with her boyfriend... trying to see if there is something there to build a future with or if there are too many issues to go forward. Her latest text to me said something like, "I'm aware I'm ridiculous..." With an attached picture of her text with said boyfriend explaining that they are going to give it another go... 

It made me sit back and think of the many crossroads Mike and I have come to in our relationship and marriage. Saturday will mark our 6th wedding anniversary. But the journey started long ago, actually 16 years and 4 months ago yesterday... I have grown up with him... We are actually coming close to a time when we have been together more years than we haven't.  I would be lying to you if I said that it has been even close to perfect. Honestly, Mike and I have been through the ringer. 

I grew up believing that love should look like Lloyd Dobler in "Say Anything" holding a jam box over his head blasting "In Your Eyes" outside of Diane Court's bedroom window... It took me many years to realize that they also had to deal with big issues like the fact that Diane's father was going to prison for tax fraud among other things. And that his friend was a stalker who was also suicidal.  It wasn't all hot steamy sex in the back seat of a car and love songs...

Being in love and getting married means dealing with each other's families. It means learning to accept that you were raised differently and figuring out together how to raise your own kids knowing that even though you try to take the best parts of how you were both raised you will still undoubtably screw your kids up some. It means forgiving each other even when you think it might be impossible and honestly never giving up. It is going to sleep in your sons twin size bed together because you can't get your kid to sleep in there to save his life and even if you have to shove shoes under the door to lock it shut its still worth it to have the alone time together. Marriage is hard. Loving each other, qwerks and all, is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. But luckily we love each other enough to keep working at it. Our love is a living, breathing organism that really needs constant care, it is not just a piece of paper and words that we said to each other years ago. It is the words and actions that we say and do everyday. It is the way we fight and forgive. It's not easy and quite honestly if it was it would be boring. 

So I don't think my friend is being ridiculous...  I think she is being pretty damn brave. Trying to work on yourself or your relationship is the hardest, most giving thing you can do for each other and for yourself.  I have no idea if this guy is really "the one" for her, but my hope whether it is or isn't is that she comes out of it being stronger, knowing herself better, and wanting to try harder. 

Happy 6th Anniversary to my very own Lloyd Dobler... I love you so much Mike... Here's to many more years of trying... 

xoxo chef a

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Empty Seats

On the iPod "This Woman's Work" by: Maxwell

It's interesting how much our Passover table has changed... It's the one Jewish holiday that I seem to notice the empty chairs the most. I remember setting the table each year after we have lost someone... How final it seems when someone's seat at the seder table is in what feels like seconds... Gone. 

I grew up always being the youngest at the table... Sitting on what was a kitchen step stool instead of a chair because that was the last seat left and somehow everyone had convinced me that it was in fact the best seat.... Hmmmm. Anyways I remember how special the table looked, all of the symbolic things on individual Seder plates at each place setting. The sterling silver and fine china were all laid out on the beautiful embroidered tablecloths that my grandmother had made. It always felt like a royal party and I, of course, was the misunderstood princess always chasing after the big kids! 

After my grandfather died things changed a bit... My aunt started hosting, there were a lot more guests, and I no longer held the place of the youngest... And just like life our table has evolved... The little kids have all grown up and now we have little kids of our own. In what seems like minutes our Seder table is now filled with little voices again... Actually a cool dozen kids under 13, 9 of them 4 and under and 5 in highchairs. It's bittersweet to realize that the chairs are being filled again...

This is a pretty exciting Passover for me. Levi truly understands what we are celebrating and he is thrilled to share his new knowledge with all of the younger kids. It's amazing to see him so confident in knowing the story. I have been very busy cooking for all of my clients and although it is a crazy amount of work that includes a couple of sleepless nights it is a honor for me to make their Seder. To know that the food I am making is part of an experience for families all over this city makes my heart full. I've also been busy this year working on some new recipes from wonderful friends that have now forever changed the landscape of our celebration. 

So although some of the seats at our Seder table will always feel a bit empty... The new seats we have added are pretty incredible. So as another year rolls in I just want to take a minute to be grateful...

I am so grateful for work... For the opportunity to do what I love to do which is really so much more than just cooking food, it is truly creating a memorable culinary experience for generations of families near and dear to my heart. I am so lucky to have these amazing friends and family who fill up the seats in my life. I am very grateful for all of you, especially the ones who have listened to all of my rants this last week!

I wish those who celebrate Passover and Easter this weekend a joyous and memorable holiday. And I hope that by reading this little blog that has somehow managed to reach almost 30,000 hits in the last week. I have made myself a little seat in your life. 

xoxo chef a