Our dinners for Eddie

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On Monday, my sister took the day off work. We teamed up to spend the entire day cooking. Not for ourselves, but for my ailing stepfather, Eddie.

Now 78, Eddie has had a decade of serious health issues. Recently, he had some falls, a tough recovery from surgery and pneumonia — and lost more than 20 pounds off his already thin frame in less than six weeks. Despite her perpetual age of 39, we’ve started to notice that the role of caretaker has taken a toll on our mother. Two weeks ago, my sister, Sandy, drove to her house with a car full of groceries. She cooked enough meals to last at least two weeks, in an effort to give my mother a break from her 24-hour cooking, cleaning and caring schedule.
They loved it. As Eddie says, “It’s not like I travel now. The highlight of my day is hitting Walgreen’s. Food is all that I have to truly look forward to.”

We decided to cook them enough for a month. Over the weekend, we made a list of his favorite meals. Classic Thanksgiving fare topped his list, along with spaghetti. We armed ourselves with a mountain of groceries. Two women in my smallish kitchen made for crazy, hectic, tripping over each other cooking — and a great time, ’cause nothing is more fun than cooking with my sister (above).

We cooked 40 meals, some with enough for leftovers in one day. Here’s the list:

Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings (x5)
Beef & cheese stuffed cabbage rolls (x4)
Meatloaf (x5)
Chicken Florentine (x4)
Spaghetti and meatballs (x7)
Black bean soup (x3)
Cassoulet (x3)
Beef bourguignon (x4)
Pot roast (x3)
Caramelized onion steak sandwich (x4)
Mashed potatoes (x2)
Lots of homemade gravy

Now I’m off to make some turkey noodle soup with the remainder of the turkey carcass…

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.

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