I remember being quite young and reading a list of things to do to prove you were grown up (it was most likely a Dolly quiz or something similar). On it was picking up the bill for a meal at a restaurant with your parents. That same summer I spent much of my holidays paving an area in the backyard to prevent the dogs from digging it up, for which my parents paid me. Shortly after I'd finished we all went out to lunch and I picked up the bill, paying for it from my paving earnings. I have to say, I did feel awfully grown up while at the same time being amazed at just how quickly my hard earned cash could disappear!
That episode was a very long time ago, but for some reason that notion of the significance of providing a meal for my parents has stuck with me. These days when we go out, everyone pays their own way so the Dolly quiz doesn't really apply. However, despite having done it numerous times, whenever I cook for my parents I still have a little feeling of pride, of being grown up. It is quite ridiculous really given my age, but somehow nothing makes me feel more like my parents child than serving them food. Food is such a special element in our family that I always want it to be perfect, but I also like to try something a little different from the usual family favourites.
Thursday night is family dinner night when we all converge on the family home and Mum cooks up a feast. However, with my sister away and my parents having a busy day yesterday, I offered to do the cooking for a change.
I made a delicious beef and chorizo ragout with crispy potato stacks from this month's Australian Good Taste magazine. It really was yum and I followed it with chocolate lava cakes. They could possibly have done with two more minutes in the oven so that they preserved their shape better when I turned them out, but they obviously tasted good as they disappeared in record time.
It was lovely to give Mum a break from the cooking, we are going to make it a regular thing. So now once a month that little girl in me will be looking for the perfect meal to show my family just how much they mean to me.