Mona GEORGE- Taouil from

I love to cook. I cook feasts and I love to make what I cook look pretty. It’s just me. Might be connected to my Phoenician Lebanese roots, where beauty is purposefully and stunningly, presented in food and in life in general. Cooking for me, slows the pace of my hectic work and mom life right down, to an enjoyable yummy pace.

Besides, where else in life can you dedicate a half to hour to something and then sit back, enjoy, consume, feel, smell, taste so immediately? Okay so that must be it; I’m way into immediate gratification!

Yup that’s me. If it’s not immediate, my dynamic but multilayered Gemini self tends to lose attention, interest and gets bored easily moving on to the next immediately satisfying treasure. Well, for me cooking so far has kept my wandering eye and focus. I digress. Back to the dishes.

My homemade bread stuffing on an ordinary non holiday day!

Like in life, anything worth tasting, worth having, takes elbow grease, a lot of hard work and subsequently often leaves a productive mess. As with my cooking feasts. There will always be dishes to clean, kitchens to tidy, mop, etc. Oh I’ve discovered tricks and shortcuts along the way, trust me: For example, the last time I made fresh dough for pizza, I lined my kitchen floor with old bedding sheets to avoid the dusty floury mess and subsequent mopping afterward! Do it! It works and saves a ton of time. But be careful you don’t slip if you have ceramic tile. Hmm although, a little minor trip, might be worth the time saved from mopping though I wonder at times…again I digress. Back to the dishes.

I’ve discovered as a mom, a wife, a working woman, there are times when it’s important to clean the mess immediately after the feast, but there’s also times where we should let the damn dishes soak for awhile before we slave over them. I just recently experienced one of these times.

Roasted chickens in my pressure cooker/airfryer!

I had just cooked two whole chickens in my pressure cooker (from frozen, people: a pressure cooker is a game changer), and decided to make bread stuffing for no reason or occasion or holiday, like Thanksgiving or Christmas either. And good for me darn it! Why should we leave the things we love whether it be bread stuffing, or our favourite Bone China dish or cup reserved for certain times on a calendar or for certain special people? Aren’t we special on our own in our own right? Isn’t the time now?? Aren’t we trying to live our best lives all the time? Everywhere you go or read, you see people encouraging us to embrace today, offer gratitude, live our best life, start now, etc…So then bread stuffing it is and TODAY!! And it’s just a hot, humid, hot again, Friday day, in July for this school Principal who is desperately trying to soak up every minute of her “off duty” summer days as much as possible. So ya. I made bread stuffing from scratch. On a Friday. In July. No holiday. And for no special guests. And I used my Denby didn’t . Okay no I didn’t. But as I write this I really wish I did. Regardless, I digress…

Okay so back to the dishes:

I had just made and enjoyed immensely as I slowlyyyyy inhaled my beautifully golden, roasted, chicken from frozen in an hour and a half, (I bought a certain pressure cooker because of the amazing roasting and airfryer option in it that is definitely a game changer, so that we are never eating white boiled pressurized chicken….we are too special for that blandness okay… everyday….even on no occasion days). And, as I’m savouring the excellent stuffing I made too, I’m trying to not notice the chaotic messy island, nor the splattered stove top behind me as I sit looking at my husband with me at the dinner table. I’m really trying to savour this stuffing I just created in no time, that really, really, does taste like a hybrid version of my talented mother in law’s and my own amazing mama’s version, I swear it! So when my husband finally looked up from his heaping, steaming dish, and affirmed no, this stuffing doesn’t need a thing, it’s great, I said to my inner OCD self, shut it down and forget the mess and devour and enjoy! So I did. A little too much.

And then later our daughter came home after a long day of work (God bless my oldest’s rock hard work ethic at only 19 soon to be 20), and instead of getting up to get her plate, we all decided to sit together, try, try hard, realllllly hard to stay off our phones, as we actually look at each other, enjoy a glass of good wine, that my newly SmartServed trained online amazing daughter chose from the wine fridge ( oh, and there’s a scary story about that too regarding our phones/laptops listening to our conversations!..I’ll tell you later), and we sat and talked and made fun of whatever thing was being reported on tv. And yes, the kitchen stayed a mess. It was now 7:30pm. Others in my big loud, close Lebanese family would surely have had a heart attack if any of them happened to walk in and saw that mess and worse, ME SITTING! Oh my and drinking wine! Lord, what transgressions! But I didn’t care at that moment. Because it was in THAT moment, that we all FINALLY connected (it didn’t last THAT long so don’t get THAT excited, or jealous etc). But we connected over really good food and drink: excellent homemade stuffing, beautifully succulent, golden roasted chicken, and yes a HUGE MESS in the kitchen. But we connected and talked and actually faced each other.

And it was in this moment, this organic, raw, pure, moment, that I loved my family. My life. My time. My health. My blessings. Thank you God. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Mother Mary. And thank you SUMMERS OFF!

THEN, a while later, our usual perfectly imperfect family dynamic and needs, kicked us off our high dreamy horses and brought us right back down to cold stone reality when…my hubby complained about the uncomfortable couch he couldn’t lie down on, my daughter caught me sneak a quick peak at my cell phone (my God she doesn’t miss a thing that one), laughed, pointed, and yelled “cheater” at me, and then proceeded to read her own phone again! ANNDDD yes yes my hubby got up, approached me on MY chair, kissed me on the forehead as he quickly and cleanly passed on the remote control to me while he turned and walked out and toward the “office” room, AKA his man cave, with the more comfy couch. Soon, my daughter left to the gym. And I was left on my chair. With my wine. And my phone. And the passed off relayed sneaky remote control torch from hubby. And the mess in my kitchen taunting me, laughing at me, I swear I heard it call me over (only 1 small glass of wine people). And with my over fed indulged menopausal tummy.

AND WE’RE BACK. Ahhh This is US.

At 9:30pm I did get myself and my stomach up off my chair and hobbled begrudgingly to the kitchen to do the dishes and clean the daunting mess, but at that point I didn’t mind doing it all. It felt like it was time. Because I had caught, and enjoyed the moment. I silenced the taunting. I shussshed the laughing. I finished the job. Nice and clean. May God bring us more moments like these. Oh and yes I did the cleaning without my husband this evening. It just rolled that way. Other days he does it or helps or not at all. It just flows. And it just works. For us.

Oh and as a side: the wine story mentioned above..? as my daughter later on opened her laptop (that was upstairs in her room and far far away from the kitchen wine fridge at the time)….yeah…she saw an ad pop up for the same exact wine she suggested to us when she opened the fridge 3 hours before! She’s never seen that ad before. Just sayin’.

Let the dishes soak women, men, kids, teens, and enjoy the perfect imperfection that is YOUR life when moments like these strike. And say thank God, Jesus, universe etc., as you do.

Use the Bone China! Make the bread stuffing! Serve your own special self with the best you own on ANY day, including a hot, ordinary humid July Friday, and let the darn dishes soak!!!

Mona xo