He Was a Chef

My husband used to say, “I cook for a living, but you cook with love.”  When our girls were 4 and 6, I decided to make a gourmet five course dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but of course since he was a chef, he had to work on Valentine’s Day, and the fancy dinner was on a different night.

The girls did not like the fancy new potatoes with sour cream and caviar that I prepared for the appetizer. They did not understand the concept of a meal served in segments or courses. They wanted to get finished and were ready to leave the table to play. We both laughed about my venture and he said, “You should have fed them peanut butter jelly sandwiches prior to our five course meal and we all would have been happier!” He was right.

For my first Valentine’s Day without him, I decided to stage a tea, actually two seatings since my dining table only has room for six. Two close friends were there for me both emotionally and physically after suddenly losing Jim, my husband of 42 years. Layne and her two daughters, Christie age 13, and Isabel age14 came to the noon seating.

The Fancy Tea

I have had experience putting on fancy teas before for my book club so I had fancy placemats, teapot, my mother’s china, and teabag holders plus those three tier servers for the petite sandwiches and dainty desserts.

The menu was a work in progress for weeks filling my empty time. Finally I decided on apple walnut scones served warm with butter.  Homemade vegetable soup was the next course. Fancy heart shaped sandwiches of chicken salad, peanut butter and jelly, and cucumber with cream cheese came to the table on the three tier tower. Heart shaped decorated cut-out cookies, chocolate brownies and white shortbread Scottie  cookies were served on the dessert tower.

Layne and her girls enjoyed the ceremony and the food. We laughed and chatted quite a while. I feared they would not give me enough time to prepare  for Rosemary and her granddaughters, Chloe age 10,and Izzy age 9. They left at 4pm giving me an hour to prepare for the second seating of my tea.

Extra Touches

Rosemary surprised the girls not telling them where they were going but had them wear fancy frocks. Once again everyone enjoyed themselves. I had made origami boxes from paper which I filled with Ferrora-Roche chocolates. They were afraid to eat the white Scottie cookies because they looked just like my Westie, Clancy.

Jim taught me to cook with love and I am sure he was smiling down watching the joy I had preparing and hosting my Valentine Teas.

Linda Freudenberger

Linda Freudenberger

I recently retired as an occupational therapist after working for Cardinal Hill Rehab Hospital for 20 years working in various programs such as industrial rehab, outpatient, stroke unit, skilled nursing unit, pediatrics, and home health. I also worked on a federal grant with University of Kentucky called Agrabilty where we would visit farms and recommend adaptations to help injured farmers return to their jobs. After leaving Cardinal Hill I worked PRN at the Willows a skilled nursing facility. I grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State with a degree in social work. I moved away in 1975 when I got married. He was a sous chef with Hyatt Hotels We lived in Birmingham, Al, Chicago, Il, Memphis, Tennessee, Dearborn, MI and moved to Lexington, Ky in 1981 where I still reside. We raised both of our daughters here and I returned to college at Eastern Kentucky University in 1989 to pursue my degree in occupational therapy. I have always enjoyed writing and began college as an English major but switched my sophomore year to social work. I enjoy traveling and went on many trips to the Caribbean on dive/snorkeling trips with my husband. I have an 8 yr. old West Highland terrier that is a certified therapy dog. We visit hospitals, nursing homes and other venues to offer dog therapy. I also volunteer as a tutor at a local elementary school through the Carnegie Center in Lexington, KY.

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