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Okay, maybe not McDonald’s, just not the kitchen tonight.

Mostly, it’s about creativity or lack there-of. Even the mundane-spaghetti and meatballs fare is not my style either–at least not everyday. It could also be a kitchen problem-dirty sink, messy floor, dogs looking up at me  for crumbs, or hearing the words “what’s for dinner?”

Now is a good time to teeter over the edge looking at the vast offering of fast food.  Which place tonight? Taco Bell, Burger King, Cookout, Captain D’s, Wendy’s, but then something happens that sets me tottering back into the kitchen (shhh, do not tell the family this) … it’s the sound of the pantry door opening, ALOT, or the sucking noise the rubber part of the refrigerator makes-schwuck (the sucking noise)-opening, schwuck, closing, schwuck, opening, schwuck,closing, schwuck,opening, schwuck, closing. It goes on and on – the sucking, the clicking, the looking, the checking. I know only of two things that will make the noises or looks stop, I cook or we go and get hot and sour soup at the local Chinese dive.

The truth is, I love to cook and yes, sometimes I hate to cook. Maybe that’s why, I really enjoy what I have done this year. I love to learn about new food and new cultures. I love how my family praises me for a good job cooking. I love how food can bring people closer together; I love the conversation over a candlelight dinner; I love that we can watch a movie and eat a great meal; I love the corny little jokes my kids used to tell at the dinner table; I love that we get to hear about the best and worst parts of our day. I love the mess a family makes, prayer offerings, and yes, in our house the dishes do not often get done till the next day and the floors are a mess and there are dirty pots and pans. This is our life. You might have a different reality.

I hope you have your own stories to share. I am almost sure you have shared a meal with someone. If not and you are longing for something more, I have one BIG suggestion. Go serve in a homeless shelter – NOW HANG ON – I remember a few times in my single years, I served at the local homeless shelter in OKC, Oklahoma and I LOVED IT. I enjoyed meeting and eating and actually getting to know a few people. Some of my formative ideas about sharing a common meal were because of those experiences. I hope you will reflect on your own encounters and share some of those in the comments.

So tonight, I am cooking Cuban fare. It’s a roller coaster ride some-days and it isn’t always easy. Learning about Cuba will be hard. The difficulty has to do with the disparities in Cuba over food and the lack of it, but I also experience hope as I read about the country. I will post later about that. Come along with me as I cook Cuban and, no doubt, eat fast food some-days. Like I said, sometimes I really would rather do McDonald’s. ¡Vamos!

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