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Making Dinner During the Pandemic: A Mother Runner’s Perspective

By Kate Walton, who recently wrote about her Yeti Challenge

I love to cook. I have not one, but two book shelves in my kitchen that are overflowing with cookbooks.  Food sites are part of my daily internet browsing. When things in my life are in balance the process of planning for, shopping for and preparing dinner is one of the favorite things I do in day. Our family and friend celebrations nearly always revolve around the large table in our kitchen.

Kate's daughter Ava Jane making spanakopita.

I like learning about how food fuels me and my very active family, I take pride in knowing my families favorites and not-so favorites. Feeding my people is an act of love passed on to me from my Grandma Jane, who was a wonderful cook. In the kitchen I feel close to her memory.

My friends will tell you I regularly push recipes on them when I find something that is:

Easy:                                                                Sheet Pan Fried Rice

Hearty:                                                            InstantPot Zuppa Tuscano

Adaptable:                                                      Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Makes Great Leftovers:                                  Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Please Make this Potato Salad:                      Mom’s Classic Potato Salad

When you need comforted:                           BBQ Comfort Meatballs

Meatless Monday:                                          Sheet Pan Gnocchi

Use Up Your Leftovers:                                   Frittata Formula

Dessert for company or a Tuesday:                Magnolia Lemon Pie

I could go on….

But here’s the thing. It is a very fine line between a hobby I love and a chore I resent and that line can get blurry quickly. In recent times grocery shopping has been fraught, some staple ingredients were scarce and juggling three daughters and one husband’s tastes and hankerings for all the meals and all the snacks all the days in a row started to feel more like a burden than a way to care for my family.

Meghan's Instagram post.

Why oh why doesn’t my husband love Melissa Clark’s Red Curry with Tofu, Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes as much as the rest of us?  Why will my daughter only eat vegetables if they are cooked?

Then like most things, when you keep showing up there’s these great moments that make the mundane seem worthwhile. Meghan posting daily photos of our dinners on her Instagram story to make her friends jealous. Various combinations of my kids tucking into the kitchen when I’m cooking dinner to talk or help with prep.

Ava Jane helping out one night and saying off handedly “I know I am going to really miss this when I go to college next year” and I have to turn my head and swallow the lump in my throat.

I get near daily texts from someone in the family asking “What’s for dinner?” and I’m back to loving it again.

2 responses to “Making Dinner During the Pandemic: A Mother Runner’s Perspective

  1. Thanks for all the fresh, new ideas! I’m trying out the meatballs, chicken wraps, and risotto recipes next week!!

  2. Thanks for sharing some links – I’m tired of my own cooking haha! Week one- organize the cookbooks. Week 12- chicken strips again!

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