Saturday, September 20, 2008


I love cooking and eating and when I had cable television, one of my favorite shows was Top Chef. It was so exciting to see the beautiful meals the competitors would create, under time pressure and with difficult constraints.

I have come to the conclusion that I would not do very well on Top Chef. Last week, I began volunteering at ROOTS, a local shelter for young adults, age 18-25. When deciding which shift I would like to take, I thought breakfast would probably be best―I could come in and help out and still get to work on time.

When I arrived on my first day, the night volunteer who let me in informed me that I was on my own for breakfast. I must have looked a little panicked, because she said that she would try to get one of the night managers to come help me.

I surveyed the completely unfamiliar kitchen, trying to figure out what I could make for 20 people. The night volunteer suggested eggs, which seemed like a good idea until I realized that there were only three eggs in the refrigerator. The meal I finally pulled together consisted of watery coffee, fried ham, cold cereal, juice, and donated pastries. The shelter guests were unimpressed.

When I arrived this week, I was a little more prepared. I was determined to make a breakfast that I would want to eat, and oatmeal seemed like a good idea. This time, when I opened the fridge, there were 18 eggs! I set to work, making the largest batch of scrambled eggs I have ever made and coffee that appeared to be the right color at least. I don't know that I have ever been so proud of a meal in my life, and the only complaint I got was that we ran out of eggs.

My kitchen mis-adventures have made me think about all of the good food I have had lately. In the past month, I have had dinner at
Local Roots Farm (the farm that grows the vegetables for my CSA), I went to a potluck for Young Adult Friends, and my roommate and I have started cooking and eating together more often.

These meals remind me of all the family dinners I had growing up, and how there was always room at the table for whoever happened to be around.
I am so grateful to live in a place with such an abundance of food, and to have people to share the food with. Although I sometimes miss watching Top Chef, I'll take a good meal with friends over a quick dinner in front of the TV any day.

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