Pocket Chefs, Family Meal Time is Possible

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As a mother of two toddler boys, there have been many moments that have solidified my deepest fear. And that fear is this, I fear that I’m doing it all wrong – mothering that is. Moments where I have felt a deep longing to be the type of mother who calmly addresses a whining child with resolve, patience, and grace. The truth is that on most days, I am simply not that mother, and sometimes that realization is overwhelming. But for all of my failings, one thing I do well is that I know how to ask for help. Today, I’d like to talk about the leap of faith I took when I allowed someone else to cook for my kids.

It was a normal Friday night, my husband was working late, my kids were excited for a long weekend and I was finishing the last bit of laundry before the dinner routine started. But then I remembered that I had been lucky enough to book a service from Pocket Chefs. They provide a chef who will come and make your family dinner for the night – using your own food and space. To be honest I had no idea what to expect. Would the chef make more mess than I would have made? Would my picky-eaters hate the Chef’s food like they hate mine? Would the chef be able to maneuver in my retro-90’s kitchen? I had a lot of questions (or anxieties) but I decided to push forward.

First of all, Denise was so friendly! She came in with a big smile and went straight into the kitchen. I showed her where things were, what food I had in my refrigerator and she got to work. Within an hour the aroma of a real-home cooked meal — that wasn’t coming from the air-fryer — perked my kids’ interest. They came and asked, what’s for dinner? They never ask this! I was also curious, but not curious enough to get up from the glass of wine that I was enjoying with a friend who’d come by to visit. I told them they’d have to wait and that tonight was special because we’d all be eating together! They were as excited as any toddlers can be about food. 

In one hour and thirty minutes, the meal was ready, plated, and smelled delicious. We sat down, we laughed, and got to have an actual conversation. I can’t tell you what I envisioned motherhood to be, but I definitely thought that along the way we’d have regular family sit-down dinners. I envisioned our Sunday nights sitting around a large table really enjoying each other’s company. Naïve? It must have been because, in this vision, I never pictured just how messy two toddlers can be. I never imagined that I’d spend so much time cleaning up after them instead of eating with them, or that getting them to eat even basic meals would be their source and opportunity for autonomy. 

No battle cry over food occurred that Friday night. I did not spend thirty minutes cleaning up after their meal and I actually got to have that family dinner I’d always wanted. 

As they stuffed their faces with garlic noodles, I ate meatballs, pasta, pan-seared salmon, and fresh-made tomato sauce – all of it was simply delicious. 

The best part? I got to have leftovers for three days!! Three days of “YAY! Garlic noodles!” – Jameson Salinas. Three days of knowing exactly what they were going to eat! And three days of not having to clean up after cooking instead of eating with my kids.

The better-best part? When Denise left my house, the kitchen was spotless. My husband came home to a warm meal, satiated kids, and a clean kitchen. Please, for your own sanity, look up Pocket Chefs. The service is affordable! If you consider the fact that you’re buying your own groceries anyway, and that you’re no longer eating out because of the pandemic, this is what the new date night should look like! Drink your own wine, eat your own food and enjoy a nice meal with the entire family – kids included.

It’s fair to say that I highly recommend Pocket Chefs.


If you decide you are ready to give them a try, be sure to mention ‘SFMOMS’ when signing up! 

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Olga Rosales Salinas writes poetry, short stories, prose, blogs, essays and is currently working on her first fiction novel. Her heart center is with her family that includes two rambunctious boys. She has received an Honorary Mention for the Charles Bukowski Poetry Prize by the Raw Art Review. Currently she facilitates a poetry writing workshop for 5th and 6th graders at Harbor House, a non-profit in Oakland, CA. In 2019, along with her five sisters, The Rosales Sisters’ Scholarship was founded in order to help 1st generation or immigrant students from Aptos High School, where the sisters each attended. She was the founding curator of Vetted Word, a monthly showcase featuring poets, writers, and musicians.

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