Thursday, September 26, 2013

Baby, We've Come a Long Way...

You know those times when you hear a song and instantly are taken to a specific moment in your life?  Or you smell something, just a whiff, and you feel the arms of a memory wrap around you?

That happens to me, a lot.  In the car I hear a song and I remember. Or I have Pandora on in the kitchen and I have to stop when they unexpectedly play something I haven't heard in awhile, because it all comes washing over me... people, experiences, emotions.  I have tried to make a point to think about and pray for the people the song reminds me of, which would be why my husband found me staring out the window last night as I was emphatically singing along to an old song, my eyes closed tight and my fists clenched.

I was praying for the students from my very first class ten years ago, merely because a song got shuffled in...

It wasn't just that song that got to me last night, however.  It was the smells.

Sauteing onion.
Simmering beef.

Instantly I was a newlywed again, back in my little kitchen in our little apartment, surrounded by food I had no idea what to do with it.  And, again, I was cooking ground beef because it was cheap (and that was our key operating term at that point in our lives... newlyweds, ya know?) and really, because it was all I knew how to make.

Honestly?  The only reason I knew how to cook it was because I had made a phone call to a friend at some point.  Help me, I pleaded, help me know what to do with this package of beef.

For the first time I didn't have Hamburger Helper to mix in with it and it stared back at me.  What on earth was I supposed to do?

But I figured it out.

I also quickly learned that if you heat up some olive oil in a pan and drop in some spinach with a dash of garlic salt you get a quick veggie side.  The beans we ate back then were dropped into the pot from a can, and the rice was really gooey and sticky -- not at all like the Brazilian rice I was trying to make.  But it was rice and we had beans, there were veggies on the side, and somehow I managed to figure out how to make that simple ground beef taste really good.

This was a basic staple for us during this time.  Maybe not the healthiest, but it was what we could do -- both according to our budget and ability.

This, this flashback to the beginning of our lives together, is what rolled over me last night.  And I couldn't help but notice how different things are.  Same pots, but a different kitchen.  Same food, but a different technique. No longer was this the only thing I could make, but the one I chose, after months and months (and possibly years) without it. Even the flavor was slightly different... the rice, a little more fluffy and a little less sticky; the beans, fresh from the pressure cooker; the beef, perfectly seasoned.

Yes, things have changed.  A lot.  But that smell, the one that voyaged through time, made me realize that despite all these changes, the most important thing has remained constant: that man who ate each one of those simple meals with me back then with a smile on his face is the same man who applauds me and encourages me today, both in the kitchen and out of it.  We may be in a different place now than we were then, both physically and in maturity, but we -- WE -- are the same.  Just two kids in love, doing our best to make a happy mark on the world.

(Both pictures of us were taken during our first year of marriage.)


  1. Wonderful! So much progress! So much love! <3

    Something kind of similar happened to me today. I was at a stationary store and they had a beautiful big polka-dot 3-ring (well, 4-ring) binder. I bought it because the binder I've been using for the recipes I print out and edit (write / stick post-its on) after cooking with them is overflowing. Anyway, I sat down to transfer the plastic binder things to the new binder, and I saw the original recipes I'd invented / typed up / printed out. They were so basic and I remember being so proud of them! All of those original recipes have pictures of the first time I made them successfully, complete with the little toucan napkin holder. The things I print out now are way more complicated, with ingredients I didn't even know existed when I started out.

    I largely have you to thank for the progress!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

    1. Isn't it amazing how much we grow and change?! I think we both have had similar experiences due to, well, our similar experience of being married to Brazilians :) I want to see this binder -- picture please! (And yes, the toucan napkin holder... a constant staple in Danielle's pictures, hahaha!)

      I am happy to have been a part of your food growth journey! Hugs!

  2. Aww, I love this post. It`s both sentimental and beautiful. You two look so happy. I love reminiscing those good memories. It`s crazy how quickly things change in the big picture without our conscious knowledge.


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