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What to cook? by Carmela D'Amore

Ever thought `what am I going to cook? And the thought is so overwhelming that you just cannot think, the kids are hungry, the husband is on the way home, and you just can’t get past the anxiety. Well you are not the only one! We often have those kinds of days. Just about everything and anything goes wrong.

The best thing to do is to take the focus off the situation, and off the anxiety, take a breathier, put the tablecloth on the table (try getting a lovely Italian one), the salt and peppershakers, and pray for a miracle! Not really! But that helps! Looking back at what I would do, my mind would go back to the files in my soul, to search what my mum would do, trying to find some sort of answers, to help me in that exact moment.

So how did I do it? My thoughts would remind me of when I was a child and watching my mum some days, and she probably didn’t even know what to cook herself, as she was in the same situation as myself, but she would just put the table cloth on the table and start to set the table, and just continue in a slow motion and get her thoughts together, and pretty soon, she would whip up a meal, that came from nowhere.

Just getting your thoughts together, as the evening progresses, and doing one thing at a time, and not panicking really helps; it takes a lot of practice, and experience, I am sure, my nonna’s (grandmothers) had the same experience, as they had many children, mine had about 13 between them, they saw war and famine, and still put bread at the table.

Mum used strategies and put them in place before strategies where even invented.

Today, we live in such a fast pace economy, that we don’t have the time to think about what we are going to eat, unless, we have a great routine, and prepare the meals, lets face it we are not superwomen or men!

McDonalds, and KFC, was not around in those days, and they would spend all day cooking and making sure that the household had food. I remember watching my nonna’s, make bread, pasta, and sauce, (I suppose that’s why I am intolerant to gluten from all of the pasta and bread I ate as a child!) I still love it!

The simple things made them happy, and they continued their daily chores, each child, had a designated task, and they would do it without grudging.

So looking back the solution is preparation, if I prepare for the week, and allow time to navigate me into the important things, such as helping the children with homework, and not feeling like a terrible mother, then, I can learn to relaxwith my family, and give them the best of me, and the household will rest in such a way, that the tension will leave and the family has a place to grow in love.

Now that I have gone through the experience, I would like to share it with you to give you some tools, most of all be kinder to yourself, and take the stress out of the equation and change the dynamics where you have control of the situation.

  • Plan your meals. i.e. what you will be doing that week, will you be eating at home, is everyone home, check for after school activities.
  • You could do a shop with the children, on a Saturday afternoon, and let them help you with the groceries, give them each a task, to get so that they are occupied with the shopping and not wanting anything, by doing that it takes the focus off themselves and you get to teach them about planning.
  • Allowing them to help you gives them memories for their own selves as they grow, and they will continue to do so, with their own children and store tools for their life.
  • Asking the children and husband what they would like to eat for the week also takes the stress away from you, and that helps them to become more family orientated.
  • Spend time on a Sunday afternoon, to prepare your meals, like cooking them, and placing them in airtight containers, and reheating the meal, when needed
  • If your children are older, you could get them to help you in the preparation process. That is a real team effort as a family, and helps you to bond more closely together.
  • Remember, make things light, and life gets better, do it in bit size chunks, and one step at a time, breath, smell the rosemary! In doing just these simple steps, it gives you more time to be a family, and most of all; you get more time to yourself.
  • And you actually save more money!
  • Planning is the key, as you become the keeper of your own time, not the slave to time.

Come and cook with me!

La vita e bella – life is beautiful

Buon Pranzo! Carmela D’Amore

Carmela D’Amore

Carmela D’Amore

Carmela D’Amore is an International Sicilian chef, the daughter and granddaughter of Sicilian migrants, with over 45 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Ambassador to Sicilian food and culture, a published International author of over 3 books, currently the executive chef of Sorrento Trattoria, an Italian Restaurant situated in Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula.