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10Feb/12Off

On the Art of Living: Time to Cook

I walked through the grocery store last week, taking my time to select the ingredients I needed for the lunch I had planned. I had taken a day off of work and was expecting company for lunch. This particular lunch was going to be comprised of some items that required cooking, chopping, coating, seasoning, and blending in careful quantities. Such a great perk of cooking is that if you can pull it off, you can dine on whatever you want.

They say that the family that prays together stays together. I say that anything that’s truly cliché must be mostly true. Cliché doesn’t come from nowhere.

My son studies culinary arts and is readying to graduate high school with credits toward college classes in this field of work. After graduation, he’s planning to move to higher ed, away from culinary arts for a little while. But from his current studies, he understands a few things that will serve him for his entire life. He became interested in culinary arts because I have always involved him in household process. It’s a precious role, preparing a new human to be a good adult.

We cook. Sometimes together, sometimes not. We move around the kitchen when we’re working on a meal, both engaged in what we’re doing and sharing a space that is common and comfortable. Conversation happens easily. Hopes and dreams are expansive, and fears and concerns are expressed. We check egos and conflict at the door. We produce something tangible together. It’s great. Well, the meal may not be great. The shared experience always is.

Cooking by yourself can be even more rewarding. There is something humbling about being in service to someone else. In serving them. It takes time to cook well and to finish a meal to an appealing final presentation. Skill and craft and pride come into play. Creativity and boldness can contribute. If you practice, you get better at it. That’s inevitable—it’s like everything that you practice with focus.

Kitchen is HOME. You can’t run a good kitchen and never be there. In order to pull off cooking in a successful fashion, you have to show. That’s the rub. Deliberate intention placed squarely on meeting survival needs in a delicious manner can have the effect of plugging you into the life-hub of your home.

We’re all busy. We all struggle to incorporate the best of all of life into each day in order that we can strive to be better humans, to reach our potential. There is a grace in submitting to the time required to do this activity right, and a freedom, as well. Have you ever been caught in the rain? Have you ever been so drenched that you finally stopped running for shelter because you really couldn’t get any wetter? I like to immerse into my kitchen and submit to the time as though it’s rain. Stop by the counter and sneak a taste—go ahead. I’m making it because I love my people for whom I cook, whether they live with me, or are just visiting for lunch, or are attending the church picnic.

Ultimately, this activity is an act of love. You can do a great deal, if you’re doing it because you know that it will make the world better for your people. Work can become a vehicle for a better life. Struggles can become opportunities to learn and grow. And, even time in the kitchen can become the glue that binds a family more solidly into a unit.

Last week’s lunch was great. I took my time at the store to carefully select everything, keeping my vision close and enjoying spending time mentally developing it while doing so. As it is with most good meals, it took less time to eat than it did to cook, but the table served as both a prop for our plates and coffee, and an arena across which we could address each other in easy conversation. Not enough is easy some days, so I’ll take it as a success and let it be just that simple.


This guest blog was written by: Staci

Staci's Bio
I love to write! I spend a ton of time outside. I have a degree in forestry. I fix computers. I was a mermaid once. "I believe that deliberate living takes time and energy. There is a beautiful grace to the connection we have with our lives, if we're willing to invest. Sometimes the effort itself is a return to mindfulness that allows other aspects in life to gain clarity. Each day becomes a canvas, and my acts boldly brush on the paint of good consequences." ~me

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