I like to cook. It’s not just the chopping and layering and baking, but the putting together of flavors and the pairing of vibrant colors and the eating as close to natural as possible. I like the planning. The looking through recipes and making menus. The thinking of different family members and designing a meal just for them. It’s the organizing of our schedule and working around it. Make ahead freezer meal for this night, slow cooker meal for that night, extra time in the kitchen on another night.
And it’s the time in the kitchen. It’s making something new by combining different ingredients. It’s taking what’s left over from the night before and remaking it into something different the next. It’s the kids pausing to help me. It’s the building of train tracks through the center of the kitchen, and the reading of books that “You just have to hear, Mom.” It’s the imaginary play on the swing set I can watch out the window above my sink.
It’s spiritual really. This is what God has given me to do for this season of life. Through food I can show my family how much they are loved. I cook healthy because it matters to me, and Karianne appreciates it. I make chicken-that-tastes-like-fish because Sam eats it without negotiations. I cook beef because Hannah and Andy almost moan with delight at each bite. I add something sweet, usually fruit, but sometimes a dessert, because Stephanie gets so giddy her dimples appear and she giggles.
When I’ve planned ahead, I can’t wait to get home to the kitchen. I tie on my apron and wash my hands. The stress melts away, and I transition into the most important work of the day — loving my family.
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I can see you there, loving and cooking up a storm. This is a great post Ruth!
Mmmm…I want to come to dinner! You created a wonderful picture here…I can see you cooking, kids around… nice…
Cooking as a way to show love to your family. Each individual's preference and delight. The joy you find in the planning and preparation. Each moment vividly portrayed. My favorite line: The stress melts away.
I agree that cooking is a great way to transition from school to home. It is a stress reliever and one you can savor after it's done!
You certainly do savor cooking and baking. I am trying to change the way I use to cook and eat. It's frustrating. Maybe that's why cooking has become such a chore for me lately. Maybe a class in using spices/herbs to liven things up would help.
Ruth, You are a wonderful cook. I can just see you looking in cookbooks finding just the right recipie for the ones you care about. I always look but I never end up making them. You inpsire me.
Kitchen…heart of the home.
Love this post. I adore cooking but sometimes get frustrated trying to please everyone. Your post puts it in a different perspective for me. Thanks!
There is nothing better than cooking for family, and them enjoying it. It brought it to life through your words.
When I have time, there's nothing better. Thinking ahead obviously helps. I love that you love this, all the parts. That's when you are just plain satisfied. Thanks!
I love how you recognize that it is the way you are showing your family love right now. (And how fabulous that they are feeling the love AND appreciating it.) I love the planning part, but am not yet to a stage where I want to do it everyday. Perhaps in a different season.
I, too, love to cook and feel my stress fade when I'm cooking. I cook for one, but caring for myself in this way is important. When I let myself stop cooking, go for days and days and days without preparing my meals, I feel the difference, both in the quality and satisfaction quotient of what I'm eating and in how taken care of I feel. I stopped at the grocery store tonight to make sure I'd be able to make the kale-chickpea salad I was craving.
As always, Ruth, your slice makes me smile, makes me a little misty-eyed, makes me so happy to have connected with you through this challenge. I love reading your pieces!
You bring a whole new perspective to cooking. I'm not a very good cook, and not good at thinking of things to cook. Then, by the time I get home, it's the last thing I want to do. I do it, but not lovingly and joyfully, like you do! Thanks for this reminder!
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Syntax error. Glasses on now. Let's try again…
What I see as Power/High, Time/3MIN, you've elevated to an exercise in thought, love, and a gift to and from God.
I need to do this more–experience the Divine in the everyday.
Love this post. I'll be dwelling on it today…
I like that sense of being able to transition and focus on family. So much to balance, huh? Planning and preparing meals is an area that I need to set as a priority as it has been haphazard lately. I think your “When I've planned ahead…” is key. Without a prior plan, sometimes it is hard to pull together at the last minute.
“The stress melts away…” rings true for me, too. If I've had an especially trying day, or I'm sad or mad, I cook. Sometimes I cook for no one in particular. Then I bring it to work and share it with everyone. My friends enjoy this quality about me. 🙂
I love how each child finds their focus in your cooking. 🙂