Aug 19, 2007

On Cooking Large Meals, Setting Extra Places, and Opening Hearts

Ours has long been the sort of home that our children's friends sort of gravitated toward. When the kids were younger, it was items like the trampoline and eagle's nest that made our house fun. As my children are now seventeen and older, though, our house still remains a place where we have "extra" kids who hang around.

And I'm fine with that. While at times the chaos of our busy house makes it hard to write (let alone think), I know that there is a reason why particular kids spend more time at our house than their own.

Yes, this means our food bills are a little higher, or that the television is running almost 24 hours a day, but I suppose this is our lot in life. We have long been foster and adoptive parents, and I think ours is a home that appears "safe" to kids who have problems at their own homes.

We don't ask questions of our extra guests (usually!), and we tend to cook for 8-10 people every meal. If that many show up, great. If not, you can bet that someone will be eating the leftovers late night, the uneaten food no doubt acting as nutritional supplements to the steady diet of fast food most kids consume.

And I think we are blessed in one sense: our children, despite their occasional teenaged crankiness, spend a lot of time around the house. By welcoming their friends and feeding those who show up unannounced, we have created something much more important than a kitchen sink that fills up 2-3 times a day.


Anonymous said...

Just what is that cooking on the stove at "Chez Brooks?"

Tina K said...

That's so great. My parents were always like that, too. I hope someday when I have kids old enough to have friends over, we'll be that house. Goodness knows that my husband is better at cooking for an army than for two.

Man with the Muck-rake said...

No better tribute can be given to you than the trust of other children in your home. Kudos to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

You can always make a large pot of brown rice and beans with a can of spicey tomatos and serve it with hot sauce and grated cheese.

It's very cheap, much more healthy than altered bleached grains.

Also a big pot of soup with frozen and/or fresh veggies carries a long way.

-Sepp said...

Teach em how to do the dishes and you'll have the whole package.

Roo said...


When I had my farm that was the 'landing zone' for all those kids that were either already in trouble for being out too late, had been into something they shouldn't have been or were just wanting to be someplace different.

When I called parents to let them know where their kids were all was right with the world.

Many mornings I woke up to find kids sleeping in my living room or out in the bed of my truck.

I would have rather had them there and safe than on the road somewhere trying to figure out that space between adolescence and adulthood.

I'm glad there are still those kinds of places for kids. Thank you to you and your wife.