Next week the cousins - we'll call them the Slugger and the Princess - are coming west to visit, the first time in many years. All the kids will spend the days at the wonderful beach camp my boys have attended for five-plus years. They'll paddle out past the break on surfboards and hang out with the dolphins. They'll play volleyball and Dynamite on the sand, do gymnastics and crafts, watch the counselors put on hilarious skits every morning as they review the rules and safety procedures. They'll come home tired, salty, sandy, happy. And no doubt very, very hungry.
All the kids are excited about camp, but the Slugger and the Princess are particularly excited about the week at Aunt Erika's house because they know Aunt Erika will be cooking for them. They get lots of good food at home, but somehow my cooking has taken on a kind of legend in their young minds. I'm flattered, of course. In fact, I love it. You know my motto: I feed people. Especially the people I love. And most especially the people I love who love to have me cook for them.
The Princess has a reputation as a picky eater, so to be on the safe side we negotiated the dinner menu for the week in advance. I'll be at work during the day, so nothing too fancy, and a few things easily made in advance, I thought. I wrote it up and emailed it off to New York:
- Sunday: Steak, sweet potato fries, Caesar salad
- Monday: Oven-fried crispy fish, green beans, cole slaw
- Tuesday: Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce, salad
- Wednesday: Grilled chicken cutlets, cut-up veggies with dip, roasted potatoes
- Thursday: Lemon-garlic shrimp over rice, snap peas
- Friday: Lamb chops, lemon Parmesan orzo pasta, creamed spinach
- Saturday 6/26: Go out!
Now it's all about the shopping. My heroic husband will do a Costco run just before they arrive. We'll fill in at our local family-run market, where the stone fruit this season is beautiful. My mom, who's bringing the Slugger and the Princess out west, will prep and set the table while the kids are at camp. It's under control. The Princess and the Slugger may be looking forward to the food, but me, I'm just looking forward to a week of having everyone around the same table.