Chef Goes Back to School

Grandson Nathaniel’s week with us went by in a flash. We always enjoy being with him, and the pleasure was doubled, since grandson David lives with us.

People envy us having a student chef in the house. Now when he comes to visit, he brings his knives with him. That is a distinctive mark of a chef in my book. I try to listen to hear what Nathaniel might be in the mood to cook, and this time he talked about making a chicken sandwich. He didn’t give it a distinctive name, but it needs one. He grilled chicken fillets outside, whipped up a special bell pepper sauce, cooked crisp bacon, piled everything on a hearty wholegrain bread, and added lettuce. What a meal!

Nathaniel does not wear his heart on his sleeve, but he does wear a thermometer and a pen on his sleeve when he is in uniform. He would have liked that convenience the day I cooked a meatloaf wrapped in pastry. I can only imagine how fancy he would have made it, but mine was humdrum. He consoled me by saying that he loves home cooking because it is comfort food. When I said I would see if the meat was done, he checked it with a thermometer. He actually went to his room to get the thermometer, since he didn’t wear his uniform to cook here.

On David’s day off, we went to two thrift shops and enjoyed looking at things for several hours. Did we buy anything? No! I’m a miser, and David feels his student loans hanging over his head. Nathaniel’s refrain is, “I’m a broke college student.”

We did a bit better at a thrift store in Hendersonville. I bought $2 earrings, and John paid the same amount for a tie. We found a set of four wooden chairs for the kitchen table, feeling we got a bargain. Guests, note that you will be more comfortable to sit and chat after a meal now.

I often write about having fun and laughing, so I tried to catch a bit of the laughter after dinner one night. I kept quiet so the other five could be heard. There is nothing particularly special about our carrying on, but it was us at our silly best. I’m sorry I couldn’t remember how to include a WAV file.

We remembered the mirror ritual before leaving for church. The rest of the day was taken up with eating at a favorite restaurant and driving Nate back to Charlotte. He was a bit concerned about a heavy load of classes and working. I suspect he was eager for Monday morning to come so he could get it over with. There is only one first day of term, after all.

David acts as witness to Nathaniel’s lowering of the mirror as he left

48 thoughts on “Chef Goes Back to School

    1. I saw an old toaster like my grandmother had and showed it to the boys. I had described it to them only a few days before. I thought that was exciting. Thrift shops are like museums. Sometimes there are real oldies, but more often I exclaim over items I remember from my childhood. We would love to have you explore with us.

      xxx Thrifty Hugs xxx


  1. I love thrift shops…sometimes I go looking for something specific, but I like surprises best. Your meatloaf looks amazing, mine are always very ugly, and truthfully, not that great, but they are filling. I like the mirror ritual…having a 13 year old grandson who is 6 foot, I might have to steal it one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most welcome to the mirror ritual. We’ve had lots of fun with it. David, Nathaniel’s older brother, would like to have been taller, but he celebrate Nate’s height. Yesterday he rushed to get in the picture. He loves his bro.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The moving of the mirror cracks me up. Our mirrors remain stationary. We do make meatloaf on occasion, but never check it with a fancy schmancy thermometer. We are so backward.


  3. That chicken sandwich sounds super yummy!
    I’ve always loved thrift shops, yard sales, bazaars, etc. It’s harder now that I no longer have a car, though. (Used to go to several in one day!)


        1. Yes, the beef was there. The beef gravy was missing. Substitutions were not particularly successful. However, my son used a slice of the leftovers to make a meatloaf sandwich, and he said it was good.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Does Nathaniel fix himself and his dorm mate a hot dinner or any treats or do they have cafeteria food included with their tuition? Guessing the latter and that’s why he enjoys home-made treats when he comes home to visit you, John and David.


    1. Last summer Nathaniel and his three roommates cooked wonderful meals for themselves. Perhaps they were all working and not taking classes. Last term and the one just started have been terribly busy ones for Nate. He works in an office in the dorm, attends classes, and works in the cafeteria. He doesn’t cook at all these days, though some of his roommates do.

      He tries to keep Sunday free.

      Students have choices of plans for the cafeteria. Nathaniel chose two meals a day. In high school, he didn’t have time to eat and was having two meals a day. That’s when he lost weight, and his face was a bit gaunt. It seems to work for him.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nathaniel sure is productive – oh, to be young and have all that energy again. And to be too busy that you don’t have time to eat – sigh.

        I had wondered before if the roommates would be taking the time to fix nice meals for themselves and meant to ask you – good “practice” if they have the downtime in the Summer. That is good Nathaniel has Sunday free … you have to rest your mind a little one day a week and I know he goes to the church there in the town as you mentioned it before in a blog post.


          1. I’ll bet they will resume cooking again since they enjoy it so much unless they all have two jobs like Nathaniel. Laurie (Meditations in Motion) has mentioned that her three sons all like to cook and none of their wives do and the guys make all the meals.


  5. I have a question. Does Nathaniel fly or drive home and if he flies, does he have to check his bags? I’m guessing he would not be allowed on board with them, especially if he’s like most cooks and sharpens them regularly.


    1. I doubt Nathaniel took his knives when he flew to NY to spend Christmas with his dad. We pick him up by car from college.

      John is enjoying the 2.5-hour drive to get him. The trip to get him when he lived in Long Island was 14 hours one way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When you don’t drive all the time, drives can be relaxing. Driving for Uber/Lyft, traffic doesn’t bother me anymore. It only bothers me when I’m going somewhere on my own time. Go figure. lol


            1. I’m thrilled to know you’re a driver. I’m not sure I know anyone who has used those services, much less one who drives others!! We live in the sticks now, where cell service is quite spotty. I’ll bet you have met some very interesting people.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. That’s the best part of this job meeting such a wonderful cross section of humanity. I’ve not had a single horrible experience, but I like people and they feel it.


  6. What a lovely time and I know you hated to see it end. I almost cry at the mirror ritual now!! I am impressed with meatloaf in a pastry-I see that Nathaniel may have gotten a lot of inspiration from you. What a fancy cook you are! I always enjoy your posts-Stay safe and well-love Michele


    1. Try not to cry at the mirror ritual. It’s fun, and Nathaniel will come back. I think Nate got his cooking inspiration from his dad. He is a very good cook, more on the side of taste than presentation.

      Liked by 1 person

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