This morning my daughter, Shoshanah, left bright and early for a culinary competition in the Valley. Both my brother, Nathan, and I loved to cook when we were younger. Nathan even went on to be a sou chef at the Old Town Tortilla Factory until his death in 1999. While looking through some of my papers in the attic I found an old menu Nathan and I had made one afternoon when we were preparing dinner for my parents. I'd forgotten about our adventurous afternoon attempt at being culinary savvy.
We must have decided to make my parents dinner based what was already on the menu for the evening because our menu doesn't give many options. The menu lists our main dish simply as: Roast Beef. Side orders included baked carrots, baked potato and corn. 'Desert'-not to be confused with dessert was cherry Jello. The beverages are listed as wine, lemon-aide, tea with lemon or sugar, water, milk or coffee. I find it interesting now that we added a beverage list because growing up my dad always told us only ducks drink with their meals. Apparently we liked to keep plenty of salad dressing on hand because the list of dressing possibilities is the longest on the menu.
I remember my mom being so excited when she got home from work that we had cooked for her. Thinking back I probably had to call my dad and ask him how to actually cook the roast because I'm pretty sure I'd never done it before. Every Sunday my dad cooked a roast and I'd watched him put it in the electric skillet with water and seasonings but what the temperature was set on, I had no idea. Nathan and I set the table with my great grandmother's dishes that were stored in a cabinet high above the refrigerator because we never used them. I think I was able to round up a few candles for atmosphere and a table cloth that was fairly free of stains. Whether or not I got around to ironing the thing I have no idea.
Now my daughters make Tim and I dinner-though they've never gotten out the card stock and markers and made a menu for us. They are, however, keen on setting the table just right and making sure the candles are ready to allow for atmosphere. It kind of makes me wonder if our children are like us because of genetics (nature) or they're like us because you are like the people you hang out with most (nurture)? Whichever it is—perhaps even a little bit of both—I'm so grateful to have my girls; and and I am grateful, that like Nathan and I had, they have each other.