Love languages. I talk about them a lot. It's a theory that we all give/receive love in primarily one or two of the following five ways: acts of service, gifts, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation. We all give/receive all five, and we all need all five, but you tend to speak/hear fewer.
I think one of my primary love languages is food. I love to cook for people (give). I love to share meals with people (give/receive). And I really, really, really love to eat (receive).
My godmother's daughter will deliver some truly well incubated twins tomorrow. My godmother and my mother are in town for the occasion and to help out wherever possible, since Leslie is currently full of almost 13 lbs of baby.
It's a lot of baby.
And since I have the luxury of plenty of free time these days, I decided that I would cook for them. I plan to bring five dishes frozen, a box of produce from Hollygrove Market, my Crockpot/Cuisinart/Microplane, and all of my favorite cookbooks.
I started planning meals on Monday night, making lists which turned into one Google spreadsheet and one Google document. I went to three different grocery stores to get everything I wanted, and I started cooking yesterday afternoon. Pozole turned out much spicier than I intended, and meatloaf turned out much blander than intended. This morning, I made ribollita. My father's braised short ribs will come out of my oven when I finish writing this, and then I will start making his chili. The recipe calls for a (one.) beer, leaving me with five delicious Shiner Bock to partake of.
I've earned it.
For those of you who have houses with insulation or air conditioning that evenly cools your whole house, allow me to explain to you what it's like to be in my kitchen in New Orleans in August. Especially when the oven is on.
It's like Bikram cooking.
Additionally, when I say I'm using my father's recipes, you need to understand:
1. my father is a really excellent cook, and anything I make of his will merely mimic the original;
2. my father's recipes are crazy ridiculous in the amount of effort they take, from grocery shopping for ingredients the store clerks have never heard of to getting stew meat cut especially for you to using twine to hold together bacon, celery, herbs in a "bouquet."
All of these are demotivating factors, but that's how much I love my mother, my godmother, Leslie, Leslie's husband, and these giant twins.
Oh. I forgot to mention Leslie's husband. He doesn't eat produce of any kind, except for iceberg (if that counts) and fried okra (because Alabama). So I'm cooking a lot of meat for him and a lot of vegetables for the rest of his household.
I have frozen or will freeze the soups in one cup portions. That way you don't have to heat up an entire pot of chili when you just want a cup of soup. I made the meatloaf in a muffin tin (that I had to borrow from a friend, because that's how little I bake), so they are also in single servings.
Knowing that the twins' helpers might have allergies or that the twins themselves might develop them, I have labeled each of the ziploc bags I have frozen: name of dish; whether it contains egg, dairy, or gluten; and SPICY across the pozole.
I like to think that food is a love language I speak well, and I hope the twins first days at home are filled with the kind of love they'll live their whole lives knowing.