Food and Cooking

Food, to me, is much more than simple nourishment. It feeds a deeper need than just physical hunger. I absolutely love to cook. It is both calming and cheering at the same time. Whether alone or with someone I love, cooking is guaranteed to boost my mood. After a long, hard day at work, there is nothing better than coming home and preparing a meal. Nothing elaborate, simple and satisfying will do the trick. Not that I don’t also enjoy putting together a meal that takes a little more effort on the weekends. Cooking is an act of creation, of transforming ingredients into something beautiful and nourishing. I believe this is why it has the therapeutic power that it does – because we were all made to create.

Cooking is also an act of love. Cooking for the people we care about is a way of showing that we care. I love cooking for and with my family. Which, in my book, is lucky for them. I also love to entertain. Sharing a meal and human fellowship with our friends satisfies a void that few other things can fill. We are by nature social creatures and food quite often takes center stage at our social gatherings. Food to feed our bodies and human interaction to feed our souls – the perfect pairing. I’ve often wondered why that’s the way it is. Part of it is no doubt that preparing food for others is an act of love. I think it’s also because when we eat, we feel comfortable and at home. It’s a way of bonding with our fellow humans.

food

Some people eat to live, I live to eat. Sometimes I have to rein in my sweet tooth, but other than that, I believe that I have a relatively healthy relationship with food. Some would disagree with me on that. I maintain that there is nothing wrong with enjoying good food. It’s one of the truest pleasures this life affords. There is nothing better than trying a new recipe or recreating an old favorite or even just enjoying a drive-thru burger. Food is not just fuel to keep us going, eating is not something that must be got through so we can do something else. So the next time your soul needs fed, I have a solution. Go to your kitchen and look in your refrigerator and pantry. Use what you have, then gather those you love to share a meal and fellowship. Above all, be present in the moment and let yourself be refreshed.

Thanksgiving – Food and Family

The holiday season is upon us again. I love this time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas and the spirit of joy and love that comes with them. It’s beautiful how we all smile a little more, give a little more, and are a little more grateful for the people in our lives. The greatest gift of all is family. We may take them for granted the rest of the year, but right now, if we don’t get caught up in the commercialism of it all, family feels closer than ever.

Like most every other family in America, we ate too much food and watched TV and napped off the turkey. I spent the entire morning in the kitchen. Daddy and I did the cooking. He did the turkey and mashed potatoes, I did the casseroles and gravy and biscuits and pies. I recruited a couple different helpers over the course of the cooking process of course. It was a lot of fun. I guess it’s a good thing I love to cook. As a bonus, I got out of the clean-up. So, win-win.

This Thanksgiving was a tough one for me and my family; I know Christmas will be too. Holidays are always rough after a death. I’d give my right arm to have Mama here with us to celebrate the season. But at the same time, this Thanksgiving was also very special. Her loss made us all that much more grateful that we still have each other and that we’re still together. The thing I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving is that this past year did not tear our family apart. As it very well could have. We have needed each other more than we ever did before. And we are closer than we have ever been. I know Mama is watching and I know she is happy.

As we move from Thanksgiving towards Christmas, let’s all try to hold on to that feeling of gratitude that Thanksgiving brings. Because if we let it, Christmas will sweep us up in its frenzy of shopping and decorating and hosting parties. And while this is fantastic, it’s not really the point of it all. Let’s not forget about Baby Jesus and how grateful we are that he was born in that stable so many years ago. And let’s remember to show our loved ones how much we care – they may not be here next Christmas.

Breakfast Is Best

breakfast

Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. Partly because it’s in the morning and I’m like the world’s biggest morning person. Partly because I just really like breakfast food. Give me a choice between a brunch spread and a supper feast, the breakfast will win 9 times out of 10. Can you keep a secret? Sometimes I even eat breakfast for supper. Phenomenally awesome. Which is why places like IHOP and Waffle House are my favorite kind of restaurant. And don’t even get me started on Taco Bell’s breakfast. I’ve been saying for years that they should do that because it would be epic. And guess what? I was so right. I love Mexican, I love breakfast, and I really love Mexican breakfast.

I have a Mexican cookbook that, in addition to a slew of amazing recipes, has a lot of history and interesting trivia about the food and culture of northern Mexico and the American Southwest. One of the coolest things I learned was the practice of having 2 breakfasts: coffee and tortillas (desayuno) first thing, then a full spread (almuerzo) mid-morning. I love that! Mostly because I’m not really hungry when I first get up; but I am always starving by 8 or 9:00. Unfortunately, our modern culture doesn’t really leave room for that, but it is a practice I would like to see gain widespread acceptance. Or maybe I’ll just up and move to the Shire to live with the hobbits and their 6 meals a day.

Sunday is really the only day I have time to do proper justice to the best meal of the day. We usually eat something simple and light before church; then fix a real meal when we get home. Sometimes it’s a traditional Sunday dinner; sometimes it’s a breakfast feast. That’s my favorite. Eggs, bacon and/or sausage, biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes or tater tots, refried beans, tortillas, some fresh fruit, milk and juice – oh yeah, it’s awesome. My daddy and I are the cooking duo. I love it. I love cooking, especially with him, and I love eating, especially with my family. Someday we will all go our separate ways, but I hope we can continue the tradition of gathering around the table on Sundays. It’s a beautiful tradition that should never die.