I came home after a stressful day last week. My brain hurt, and there was a part of me that wanted to veg out with some soothing music and a magazine. Then I noticed I was hungry and my tummy was on the verge of grumbling. I was now standing in my kitchen and without much thought I grabbed a few things out of the refrigerator and started chopping. I reached for a plate (again without much thought) and placed my food on it. I glanced down at it all and noticed I neatly arranged food in columns and a smile came across my face. There right in front of me was a plate from my childhood. When my sister and I were little, and our mom was busy, it was not uncommon for our Aunt Fran to watch us. She would pick us up from school and walk with us to her home (The home we grew up in, our grammar school, and our Aunt Fran’s home was all in a 4 block radius). She would tell us to sit down and relax, while she would make us a snack. She would set each of us up with our own TV tray and on it she would place a plate with some cheese, pepperoni, crackers, and sometimes veggies or olives. The food would always be neatly cut and aligned in rows on our plate. My sister always got a glass of milk with her tray. I never did care for milk, and Aunt Fran would let me have a glass of soda.
We would watch TV, snack away, and chat with Aunt Fran about what we did at school. After we finished our snacks she would present us with a bowl of green grapes. We would squeal in delight, "GRAPES!" (Aunt Fran’s grapes were always the best.) They were consistently cold, crisp, and sweet. We would pop them in our mouths like they were candy. She then would see if we needed help with our home work and let us sprawl our books, pencils, and papers across her table. Our homework would be underway as Aunt Fran would start cooking her dinner, and like always she would invite us to stay and eat dinner with her and my uncle. But by then our mom would usually show up. We would pack up our stuff, kiss Aunt Fran good bye, and off to home we would go.
Looking down at this plate in front of me was just like the ones my Aunt Fran would make for us. Methodically placed rows of crackers, cheese, veggie meat, and celery. I admired it for a moment. I grabbed a tray I have and placed my plate on it and went and sat in front of my TV. It felt wonderful to sit and snack on my cheese and crackers. I nibbled and gave a lot of thought about how subconsciously I created something that instantly made me feel good. It soothed me in a way that only those afternoons with my Aunt Fran would. After the long and mentally draining day that had transpired I needed that. In some ways it was almost like my Aunt Fran was there with me. If only I would have had some grapes. This snack plate is just what I needed without knowing it. I wish my sister could have been here to share this with. I know she would have smiled seeing the plate of food and we could have shared stories about our Aunt Fran.
Aunt Fran’s Afternoon Snack Plate
Sliced Pepperoni, Salami, or Veggie Deli Meat
Olives, Celery, or Carrots
Plating of this is easy and simple. You just need to be sure all of your cheese, meats, and veggies are evenly chopped. Align the like items in rows with spacing in between. You can mix and match your snacks as you eat and enjoy.