Earlier this week I had lunch with my dad at our family’s favorite Mexican restaurant: Tres Amigos. My sister-in-law nicknamed it 3F (for Three Friends). Tres Amigos has had who knows how many owners over the 30 years we’ve been eating there and who knows how many different menus. My dad can’t order his favorite dish anymore–chilaquiles. But he found something else that was good.
Here where I live, my husband and I had a similar favorite restaurant called Kelly’s. It was our go-to place for lunch, for birthdays, for guests. Once, we even ate lunch there on Christmas Eve while a light snow fell. But Kelly’s closed a few months ago. Now when we want to eat out, we can’t decide where to go. Sometimes we stay home.
Of course, staying home doesn’t mean that I cook because I no longer cook for my family. OK, fine. Put me down for Bad Mom. My teens get in who-knows-when most nights, and as soon as the time changes, my husband will be riding his bike in the evenings. Plus, the food that I like, no one else likes. I’m not vegan, but I enjoy trying vegan recipies. I love fish and fruit. I can’t live without nuts and sweetened, dried cranberries on a daily basis.
The only time all four of us eat together is when we’re at a family event, like we’ll be at this weekend, when the hordes descend for my grandmother’s 99th birthday. There will be beef stew on Friday, mimosas and tea on Saturday (as well as food, but I don’t know what kind), BBQ on Sunday. We’ll sit around, eating and talking, going back for an extra slice of cake.
I’m afraid my kids won’t reminisce about “Mom’s weird salads” the way I reminisce about my dad’s $89 Stew, my mom’s wild rice dressing, my uncle’s ability to transform anything he just shot or caught into something delicious. But they might remember the food from this weekend, along with a lot more than three people celebrating. Because these people are more than family—they’re friends, too.