The first year, I did the cooking and Mark did the cleaning and the students just showed up to eat. One Thursday night, they were kind of testy with each other during the meal and I realized they needed to accomplish a task together.
“Tonight, we’d like you all to do the dishes.” we announced.
Our well-loved students grumbled and groaned and then headed to the kitchen to clean. Within a few short minutes, laughter echoed, bubbles flew and our staff felt strangely united.
From that night on, for six amazing years, I cooked dinner every Thursday night and our residence assistants cleaned the mess. They each took turns and while they worked, Mark and I sat in the nearby living room listening to the fun they were having. It was a great time for us… two small children at our feet and 200+ freshman and sophomore students living all around. The RAs I cooked for every week came to feel like family and we loved, truly-deeply-loved, the time we spent with them.
I learned a lot as we listened in… and those lessons have impacted my parenting over the years. Watching the wonder that washes forth from a task that is happily shared taught me that there is value in having my children not only do chores, but share them. When Mark and I listen to others working together, the voices we hear now are those of our children at home. They are learning and we are remembering and all of it is good.
2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 cups half-and-half cream
4 teaspoons dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package (16 ounces) linguine or spaghetti, cooked and drained
6 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, combine soup, cream, tarragon and pepper. Stir in the linguine and chicken.
Transfer to an ungreased 4-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and paprika if desired. The cheese will create a crusty topping that is an amazing addition to this dish.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through.