The other night, my wife, Patty, and I had our neighbor over for dinner since he had to put his dog, Cookie, his best buddy, to sleep. What made it even tougher was that Cookie was our dog’s half sister and like a member of our family. Like that wasn’t tough enough, his wife was out of town and he was planning on eating alone. I know I hate eating alone, so I couldn’t imagine him or anyone eating alone on this sad night.
Anyway, then comes the question what should we serve. It certainly didn’t need to be fancy, since Dan has been here many times before, and I knew I wasn’t going to be home from work much before he was going to show up with a big appetite. So, I picked up a few steaks. Easy enough. When I got home, Patty already made a salad and set the table. I quickly cut up a couple large potatoes into chunks and tossed them with a bit of EVOO and a sprinkle of this and that from the spice cabinet and cooked them off in a skillet. Yum! They looked great – the crispier the better.
I also noticed I had some mushrooms that looked like they needed some love since they got pushed to the back of the refrigerator. I sautéed them up with some butter and garlic and dinner was coming together. Once Dan arrived, which seemed like minutes after I got home, I fired up the grill, threw on the steaks, and we sat down to eat.
As we shared memories of Cookie, our tears were somewhat held back as we were distracted by the aromas of the steaks sizzling on the grill and the potatoes crackling on the stove. After our salad, I made up a plate for each of us. A steak smothered with mushrooms swimming in garlic butter, crispy home fries, and some sautéed spinach. As we ate, we shared story after story, leaving all of us with tears in our eyes.
When Dan was leaving, we hugged and he thanked us. Not just for our friendship but for insisting he join us for dinner. He said that eating together was the best therapy anyone could ask for. Chuckling, he also said…plus the steak was one of the best he ever had…even better than those pricey steak houses.
As we cleaned up the dishes, Patty and I looked at each other, picked up our dog, Truffles, and gave her a hug. At that point we knew why Dan thought dinner was so good: It wasn’t that our steak was prize-winning, it was how we made them – with one ingredient that no cook should ever be without: TLC.
Do you add TLC to your meals and if so how?