Thank you so much, everyone! Chris, you express such a sensible sentiment - I am like you, I just want to be happy and live peacefully! And I really love making the people around me happy, which I guess is why I love cooking so much. I figured it out that when you make a good meal, or you bake some brownies from scratch, you are able to make people happy! To me that is somethiing magical.
A couple of years ago, I lived in an area where I was able to help cook meals for the poor, through my church. We would serve about a hundred people at a time. Normally the church would always use instant potatoes, because they were cheaper and less time consuming to prepare for such a large crowd. But I got permission to pay for real potatoes out of my own funds, and with my own time, getting up very early that day to go into the church kitchen. I peeled the potatoes and then cooked and mashed them with warmed cream and real butter. Lots of cream and butter because I could see with my own eyes, the people who were poor could use the calories and the luxury.
I looked out now and again to see the people eating every single morsel of the mashed potatoes, with happiness on their faces. Normally, no one wanted seconds of the powdered mashed potatoes. They would ask for seconds of the bread or the stew or what-not, but not the powdered mashed potatoes. This time every single bit of the mashed potatoes were eaten!
It was such a small thing to do but it was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Last night was a happy moment for me, too, when I saw how much my husband liked the meal. I have something funny to share: I had made up a simple green salad to go alongside the buttered noodles and beouf bourguignon. (I know buttered potatoes are traditional, but my husband likes noodles better and requested those.) After one bite of the meal, Dave pushed the salad bowl away from him, saying, "I'm not going to be eating any of that tonight!" LOL.