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What's Cooking?

By Belinda

"What's cooking?"

It's the question people ask as they come through the front door on Thursday  evenings.

The casserole that I took out of the freezer for cell group this week was not what expected it to be. When I took the foil off the container thawing on my stove top it was the shepherd's pie that I had created out of the left over pot roast and gravy from a couple of weeks ago, seasoned with Worcestershire sauce until it tasted good to me and topped with mashed potato and grated cheese. I had intended it for some humbler occasion than cell group dinner.

My plan had been lasagne, although when recently making multiple pans of it I had mistakenly thawed out chilli sauce instead of tomato sauce and I had to explain the unexpected kidney beans in the first lasagne I served.

I figured that the shepherds pie would be large enough, but later, as it was baking, just for good measure I peered into the fridge, full of many odds and ends of leftovers; rice, and vegetables needing to be used.

Tori had come upstairs to set the table for supper and watched me with interest. "What're you making?" she asked.

"Vegetable fried rice!" I said at the moment of decision, and told her to expect the kitchen to smell even more delicious in a minute or two, for nothing in all the world smells better than celery and onions browning in hot oil. I chopped up a slightly sorry looking yellow zucchini and some mushrooms and threw them in too, and once they were saut√©ed, in went the leftover fragrant basmati rice from the fridge. A dash of soya sauce and that addition to the meal was ready to join the peas, corn and carrots that completed our meal for tonight.

"I love cooking, working with food, making something to eat with friends," I said to Tori, as she watched it all as if I were a live cooking show.

The first friends arrived, letting themselves in, sniffing the air as they entered the kitchen, taking guesses at what was for dinner tonight.

Hearing that it was shepherd's pie, two of them were especially happy because on the way they had said, coincidentally, "Maybe we'll have shepherd's pie tonight."

Many hands carried bowls and baskets to the table--and we sat down. The three young folk: Tippy, Tori and Lindsay (13, 12 and 11) sat at the overflow kitchen table with the cherry maple top, while the rest of us sat at the big pine dining room table.

And as the casserole dish gradually emptied and serving bowls circled  the tables several times, something deep in my soul was satisfied.

"What's for dessert?" More anticipation!

"Well, it's the orange cheesecake from last week and some ice cream cake left over from a celebration."

Nobody minded. The orange cheesecake was delicious and the last two pieces went home with someone.  And the ice cream cake was finally finished--I ate the last piece after everyone left. It was a "clean out the fridge" night, but the fridge is as full as before I started.

We are extraordinarily, deeply, abundantly, blessed.
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