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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