I just passed the nine-year mark of my divorce. Nine years. That seems like such a long time ago. My marriage lasted only five years, but it felt like eternity.
I was the bride at the altar who should have hiked up her ball gown, spun around on her sparkly shoes and headed for the hills. I took off my ring two months before the wedding.
I knew it wasn't right, but I thought that I could change him. I still scratch my head over that.
I wasn't angry or hurt so much after my divorce as I was when I was in it. I discovered on my son's seven month birthday that my husband was having an affair.
(Moms, the baby monitor is NOT just for listening to the BABY.)
After I had discovered this, my heart broke into a zillion pieces, as one's heart does. I stuck it out. We worked on it. But "she" continued to be a presence in his life. After thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in couples therapy, I just gave up.
During those five years, my mindset was to preserve my marriage for the sake of my toddler. I did not want him to come from a broken home. But our home had been broken since the very beginning.
One weekend when my then husband was away my lifelong friend, Clare came to Boston with her two young daughters to visit my son and me.
I did not know that she had a plan that weekend.
She had been broken up for years over my unhappy marriage. SHE had been broken up for years over MY unhappy marriage. She could no longer look at me as I was a whisper of my former self.
I lost my confidence, my sparkle, and my joy. I was mired in misery and self-loathing.
I let him strip me of that.
It was too painful for her.
As Clare does, she gently talked to me and eventually guided me to point where I reached the "Ah-ha!" moment. I realized that I was not teaching my child what a healthy and loving relationship was. Quite to the contrary, I was modeling a destructive and abusive one.
I got my paperwork in order, retained a lawyer, and the rest is history.
I am an optimist and a glass-half-full gal. It's time to dish, girls.
I was always an enthusiastic cook. As a teen, I loved making dinner for my parents and surprising them when they arrived home from a long day at work. It was an expression of love.
Cooking is my creative channel and my passion. I want to share my food with anyone who will grab a plate and pull up a chair.
Just last month I cooked a big batch of Italian Sausage Soup, popovers and baked oatmeal, white chocolate chip cookies for the men who were painting my house. They were great guys.
It was an excuse to cook.
I started an affair with my kitchen when my marriage fell apart. After we read to our son and kissed him goodnight, I would not pass go or collect two hundred dollars. I would head straight to the kitchen.
Cooking was my black leather couch. And it did not charge me two hundred dollars and hour.
Cooking was my outlet, my escape, and my comfort. My kitchen was my cocoon, my haven. He stayed away. I could use the excuse I was feeding our family, but in actuality, I was feeding my soul.
I would create complicated and elaborate meals. The more time consuming, the more the clock would run. I was alone.
We divorced. I am so thankful to be blessed with an incredible human being; Our son. I am so grateful that I discovered a lifelong passion.
I would not change a thing.
So, let's get the show on the road! Here is one favorite for you to cook up!
Dish’s Beef Stroganoff
1 1/2 pounds cubed round steak, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of fresh pepper
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can beef broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
Salt and black pepper
1 cup sour cream
Cooked egg noodles
Sprinkle the steak strips with salt pepper and garlic powder then dust with flour.
In a large skillet, quickly brown them on both sides in the olive oil and butter.
Remove the steak from the pan.
Add the onion slices and mushrooms to the pan drippings.
Saute for a few minutes, until the onion is tender.
Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour. Put the steak back into the pan with the onion and mushrooms.
Add the mushroom soup and beef broth.
Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, covered.
Adjust seasoning to taste, adding salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the sour cream the last few minutes, right before you serve. Serve over cooked noodles.
And that's the dish.
Because the table matters.