This month marks 9 years since my Great-Grandma passed away. If you’ve been following me for a while you know that both of my Great Grandparents greatly influenced our family’s lives. After my Great Grandfather (who we called Jake-a-Roo) passed away in 2010 we had two years of visiting with just Great-Grandma. She died a few weeks before my 16th birthday and to this day one of the things that has stuck with me the most is the way she fed people… You never left her house hungry and there was always plenty of food for everyone to take some leftovers home. And that’s still how it is today. One year at Thanksgiving Grandpa even went out to buy more containers so that everyone could have enough to take leftovers home.
In our house, there’s more to food than just eating dinner around the table. Our family spends time together in one of three ways: working outside, in the kitchen, or watching movies. Most of our heartfelt conversations have taken place at the table. We spend HOURS after breakfast, lunch, and dinner simply talking and sharing. We also enjoy sharing food. Giving fresh produce to our neighbors and friends, making meals to share during celebrations or in times of difficulty, or just because.
We garden, harvest, preserve, and cook food together. It’s literally a family affair and it always has been.
Growing up we were given the option to cook our favorite meal or go out to eat. More often than not we always chose to make something at home. I love the convenience of eating out or ordering in. But truthfully, I eat out very little. Every year at Thanksgiving or Christmas we literally get into full-fledged arguments over who’s making what and how we’re cooking the turkey. I can’t make microwave popcorn. I tried once at my Grandparents and burned it SO bad that it came out black and stuck together. Even the birds wouldn’t eat it! Give me a recipe and I can make you a four-course meal. Ask me to make microwave popcorn and you’re going to need a fire extinguisher.
For me, cooking is a hobby and a stress reliever.
I saw somewhere that cooking can be relaxing because it uses all 5 senses. And I’ve found that to be true. The kitchen is the place I go to escape the noise of the world. I play some music or listen to a book and get lost in the recipe. It doesn’t have to be a big fancy meal either. Last night I made Mashed Potoato Casserole and some roasted tomatotes. Other times it’s a batch of cookies or a choclate cake and frosting. It doesn’t really matter what the occasion is as long as I can cook something and get lost in the song and the process every once in a while.
I don’t experiment often…I tried to make homemade gravy once and it tasted fine but for some reason it was gray. I still haven’t a clue why. But every once in a while I enjoy trying out a new recipe…seeing what storebought items I can make better at home.
I find that when the world feels too too much and too heavy I crave alone time in the kitchen. It’s therapeutic.
The combining of simple ingredients that by themselves may not taste good and creating something nourishing. We’re also learning that it’s not just about cooking and eating together. It’s acknowledging what we’re eating and how it makes us feel. It’s learning how important knowing where our food comes from and how it’s made or raised.
I’ve learned that if I have a bad day I may crave a fast food burger. But if I eat that burger I’ll feel worse than if I made one at home. If I do nothing else on those difficult days, I can at least make the decision to eat well.
I’m finding that the same is true for life in general. Yes, it’s important to know where our food comes from but it’s even more important to know what we’re putting into our minds and hearts. What we’re allowing to influence us. Do I do this perfectly? Nope, just like I’ve never made a perfect meal. But I’m learning and growing and that’s what counts!
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
Until next time,