We shared bug juice at Camp Watitoh! As little kids, we plucked raw chopped meat out of the mixing bowl when our Mom was making meatballs. I got my sister Karen her first job in publishing. She introduced me to my first wife. We’ve shared a lot as siblings, including numerous cross country moves, the birth of our 4 respective kids, the loss of a parent, a little divorce, a little heartbreak and a lot of renewal. We’ve had our distant times and battle royales, but always we make up. And inevitably that leads to the kitchen.
My kid sis and I, our cooking styles could not be more different. She can make sautéed Brussel sprouts with bacon and carrots a 3-hour affair. I can barbecue for an entire Little League team in under 30 minutes, and that includes 4 lbs. of home-made Daddy special mac salad. But what Karen and I share is this deep abiding love of food: the shopping, the selection, the discussion of recipes, the prep and plating, but most of all, the celebration that cooking together brings as a family.
We got together last weekend. Snowmageddon was predicted (it never came). My wife, 14 years together in our commuter marriage, was in town. And my sis and her fam have a new dog. Need I say more?
We met Holly the Rescue Pup. We drank fruity Barr’s Gin & Juice and good New Zealand wine (is there any other kind when your bro-in-law is from Auckland?). Sleet beat against the windows as Karen worked her magic on Saveur’s version of shrimp and cheesy grits. Stories were told, distant children Face-timed. Everyone had a role.
At 10 p.m. on the nose, Karen announced that dinner was served!
Cooking is cause for celebration for no reason whatsoever. Everyone pitches in and we all get a little tipsy. We even embraced technology amidst the old-fashioned joys of chopping and dicing, allowing Alexa to spin the soundtrack of our youth. Lots of James Taylor and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Lots of laughter. It could have been a scene out of THE BIG CHILL. What better excuse to haul out to the ‘burbs and enjoy a night with your kid sis.