In an attempt to get myself into the holiday spirit, and because it sounded really good when a friend of mine posted the idea on her wall, I decided to make fudge this evening. This required evaporated milk, marshmallows, butter, and sugar among other things, depending on which kind I wanted to make. Turns out I had all these things. Plus four different strengths of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips* and half a bag of mint chips. And walnuts.
This is not unusual.
Years ago, probably during the years where I lived with my parents after college,** my brother and I had a group of friends over, and one of them lamented that we never had food at our house. We were sorta dumbfounded because, had we wanted to, we probably could have put together a 7 course meal including 3 different breads, 2 soups, 4 meats and half a dozen desserts with what we had on hand. What she meant was that we rarely had any insta-food. No ready made lasagnas in the freezer, nothing you could just heat in the microwave and eat. All the food we had was of the some-assembly-required variety.***
My cousins once went to visit relatives on their step-dad's**** side of the family in California. While they loved the visit and everyone there, one of my cousins lamented that "They don't have any ingredients." I'm sure they had food around, but nothing you could use to whip up pancakes, a casserole or brownies because the mood just struck you. I'm not sure what these people do when the desperate need for baked goods strikes late at night when there's bad weather for driving. Maybe this explains why Californians are thinner than I am.
The point is, I think, that I have ingredients.
I like the magic of taking things that you can't just eat straight (well, you could, but I wouldn't) like flour and eggs and chocolate chips (ok, I eat those straight from the bag) and turning them in to nine kinds of deliciousness. I like thinking about my pantry and freezer and refrigerator as the day passes and thinking "I have all the things to make chicken and rice, or enchiladas or pizza for dinner."
I like that my mother can visit and say "Where are the ...?" and know that I will have whatever it is she needs.*****
I have ingredients, and I know what to do with them. I feel good about this. I'm no good at household repairs, don't understand electronics, and am pretty bad at self-defense so when the revolution comes there's a good chance I'll be among the first ones against the wall, but if I'm not, then I'll be very good at cooking meals for the rest of the survivors.
I can live with that.
*which I think should be called something other than chocolate because it's false advertising and makes you think "ooh! chocolate!" when it's totally not and it's sort of like eating sweetened suntan lotion. There's only disappointment there. I don't even know why I had them.
**along with my younger brother. I can't tell you how happy they were when we finally moved out into an apartment together and started acting like actual adults. I try to remember this phase of my life when I get judgy about people who live with their parents after age 23.
***Please note that this is not a disparagement of insta-food. Stouffer's lasagna is the food of the gods, and my freezer is filled with fish sticks, corn dogs and nuggety food that I heat for the kids on a regular basis. I'm a working mom. Don't judge.
****One of the sweetest, most generous and kind souls ever to have walked this earth. "Step" often has negative connotations, and I didn't want anyone to think there were any here.
*****Except onions. I love onions, but I can't digest them anymore. More's the pity.