Cooking for Strangers



The first thing my girlfriend said to me when I picked her up Sunday morning was, “So do you like to cook?” I paused not sure how to respond. Well I don’t hate it, cooking for strangers is kind of scary though. I have no idea if I cook well or if Todd just has low standards. We both laughed as I drove us to the grocery. We were spending the afternoon cooking for the residence at the Ronald McDonald house at Florida Hospital. She proceeded to explain that she had chosen enchiladas as the meal we would prepare. My face lit up as I explained to her that there were three things I know I make well and enchiladas just happens to be one of them! Suddenly any trepidation I had about cooking for strangers began to melt away.

When we arrived at the grocery we met two of her friends from bible study (cooking a meal for the residents of the Ronald McDonald house was the service project they chose for the bible study group). After introductions we set off to purchase our supplies. While in the ethnic food aisle it came to light that no one in this group actually knew how to make enchiladas. Suddenly I was taking the lead on the main dish that would be prepared. I know this recipe like the back of my hand so that was no concern but we were cooking for a much larger group than I was accustomed to and I did feel a bit ill prepared on how to double or triple the recipe.

Here is the thing about that, I do not follow an exact recipe (shocker). I know the ingredients involved and I do everything to taste. There are no precise measurements to double per se. The group helped me determine what would be an appropriate amount of supplies and we finalized our shopping trip.

Cooking went well. I had such a good time, as did everyone else.  I love that one of my best girlfriends and I got to share the experience, that really means something to me. It is so much more special.

I ended up making two pans of enchiladas myself. As confident as I am in this recipe being good it was still a little nerve wrecking to have the pressure of the main dish laying solely on my abilities as a cook. The Ronald McDonald house employee overseeing our efforts took a break to come and eat what we made when we finished cooking and her positive response was wonderful validation. In fact, she would not let me leave without first copying down the recipe for her. We had a five minute discussion about the ins and outs of the recipe. That was pretty nice.

After clean up we were given a tour of the facility and gained some insight and knowledge about the company. It is meaningful important work they do and I am glad that on a small level I was able to contribute.


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