Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheese Ball and Culture Contemplations

I always get contemplative in the shower.  This usually means ten extra minutes just thinking, sometimes about my schedule, potential conversations I should have, recipes to try, thoughts on God.  I think of it as Brain Blogging.  If only I could immediately put those thoughts on the page.  Cause as soon as I am out of my self-made steam room, the thoughts vanish… but every now and then there’s ONE that holds on.

I’ve been thinking back to a podcast from years ago on marriage and real life.  The woman spoke of the need that our society has for excitement and newness.  Always looking for the ultimate, or the latest spin on something.  She challenged us to find beauty in the monotony.  To find simple joy and deep pleasure in things we do or make in a typical day: it’s doing it well that counts.  Kind of like a cast iron skillet, used over and over, for the same dish even, but it gets better and better each time. 

Marriage can be like that.  We are told the lie that we must keep finding the newest ways to keep each other happy.  That there’s always something more we can do to keep our love strong, otherwise we will become disinterested.  But it’s simply not true.  My dad told me one day on a beach walk at Asilomar soon after Chris and I were married: “It’s not that I love Mom more than I do when we were first married.  I just love her deeper.”  That’s always stuck with me. 

This brings me to food.  In the colder months, when holidays are right around the corner, money is tighter than last year, family debacles are playing themselves out, stress levels are high, what do we crave?  Comfort food- what we know and love.

The woman on the original podcast said a great marriage is like Mac-n-Cheese.  The way you always remember it.  Comforting, safe, predictably satisfying.  New ideas fill my inbox each morning, and it’s so fun to try new things.  But I’m reminded today not to get caught up in the chase of the newest and greatest.  We’ve probably already found it, and we should make it well and often.  I want a Mac-n-Cheese kind of a marriage.

Now you’re probably expecting a Mac-n-Cheese recipe… nope.  In honor of my parents’ imperfect, but ever loving example of a Mac-n-Cheese marriage, I give you…

Mom’s Famous Cheese Ball 
 (just in time for the World Series)

1 8oz block Original Cream Cheese
1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese (Medium Tillamook is the best)
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tbs. Worcheshire Sauce (I could drink this stuff)
1 small garlic clove (mom doesn’t include this, but a little hint won't over power the other lovely flavors)
Sprinkle in plenty of: fresh parsley, dried minced onion, salt and pepper

Mix well with hand mixer or food processor and refrigerate in shape of a ball.  Cover with Saran Wrap.  Spread on crackers and watch sporting event.

This Cheese Ball was the ever requested item, along with Chocolate Zucchini Bread and Peach Cobbler, that all hid up Mom’s sleeve, that she would whip out for Birthdays, accomplishments, or “just because I’m a fun mom” –as she would say.

PS: This is SERIOUS stuff, only for hard core chefs… the thing broke my spatula?!  Look out!

What comfort food describes your marriage? 

What food item brings you back to fond memories, and remains a standard to this day?

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