Who thought I would ever be someone who loved being in the kitchen. Okay, I love being in my kitchen most when it has the following: a warm meal simmering, fresh baking on the counter-top, a dish rack full with clean dishes, an empty sink, stocked cupboards, a pantry full of baking supplies and this season's home canning. Yes, I know - I'm picky. But it is one step above the old me who liked a kitchen with someone else in it.
Giving birth to a child has changed me and my attitude towards my kitchen. Somehow providing for a family has made me begin to connect back to a lifestyle that I used to watch on Little House on the Prairie. Now I grew up with my mom cooking meals, but I was completely unattached to the process. Mostly I remember having meals on the run while we rushed off to basketball games. I am sure my mom put in good time shopping and preparing meals that we hardly even looked twice at before digesting, or in my dad's case, putting salt on. I don't remember being interested in how the food got to our plates.
Since Kai, I prepare balanced meals with fresh, local, organic food, as often as I am able. I look at labels to check sugar content. I try to introduce a variety of vegetables, which I never before thought about putting on my plate. I finally bought The Joy of Cooking, and have even begun to see from where the joy might come. I am proud when I have a meal ready for my family at the end of a working day. It doesn't happen every day, and we still eat university-student staple meals like pasta and sauce, but now it often includes a side of quickly steamed broccoli or homemade sauce.
I get satisfaction from preparing my own food, whether it be the homemade jam I learned how to make this summer, or a new recipe for muffins or pie I test out on Marc. I don't even necessarily eat much of what I bake, as the pleasure and peace is primarily in the making. Don't get me wrong, my diet consists of more baking than I perhaps should eat, but with my busy days and nights often spent working, any time I have to bake and prepare my own food is quiet time. Time I do not have to think, but simply 'do.'
My friend recently wrote an article in the e-magazine Rhythm of the Home about cooking with children, http://rhythmofthehome.com/autumn-2010/cooking-with-children/. Since the beginning, Kai too has been in the kitchen with me, but only recently have I realized how much fun it can be. Messy? Absolutely! Is he opinionated about which ingredients and cooking utensils he would like to use? You bet. Does he make something edible? Are you kidding? But just having him stand beside me on the stool, with his own baking supplies while I bake myself is truly my own version of The Joy of Cooking. Irma Rombauer, you've got nothing on me. (okay, you had actual skill, but what's that in the face of fun). :)
Every night I go to bed, I have thoughts swirling in my head. Things to do. Scrapbook pages I want to create. Gifts I want to make. Skills I want to learn. And, of course, daily happenings that I don't want to forget, but invariably will by tomorrow morning, only to pop up in a random thought weeks down the road. So, here I am. I may use this blog daily to empty my head and heart before cuddling up in my duvet, or as it may be, I may write in it once a month. Who knows. It is for me, but perhaps something I write or learn may spark a fire in someone else. Perhaps it may quiet a mind or make you feel like you are not alone out there. It is for me. But perhaps it is for you.