One of the things that I do everyday that brings me such a large amount of joy is working in our kitchen. There is something to be said for doing a light bit of work, with my hands and food, and turn it into a wonderful meal for my family. To create something tangible and provide it for my family (whether the kids actually eat it is another story…)
I’ve always loved to bake and our kitchen and pantry has reflected that over the years, but in the past couple years I have really developed a deep love for cooking full meals. When we started cutting out all the processed junk, the boxed meals, and went for healthier options that may have required more work I really truly fell in love with cooking and being in the kitchen.
I find cooking to be such a comforting activity. If I am having a rough day or feeling particularly stressed, I can step into the kitchen set to work on our dinner and feel my world shift right back up. I’m not sure if it’s the process of creating the meal, or working with my hands, or the fact that part of my brain can shut off while I am cooking. No matter what it is, there is nothing better for me to do than make a full meal. I also just really love being IN a kitchen. The hub bub of activity, the warmth of the oven and cooktop going, the warmth of the people cooking around you, the love that you feel when someone is taking the time to prepare something for you, it’s just wonderful. There is a reason why a lot of people think the kitchen is the heart of the home (although honestly my heart also lies in a library, let’s be honest).
I’m not going to stand here and say that I am even remotely good at cooking or that I always make the healthiest meals, nothing could be farther from the truth. And I think that that is part of the beauty of cooking. The willingness to step into a room with an open mind and come out with a new (potentially bad) dish to try or even just a spin on an old classic.
I try to cook as much as I can from scratch either following a recipe that I’ve found online or that I’ve learned from parents/friends. I prefer to create a meal from the “ground up” and build upon elements in each dish. I will try and offer a main protein dish, a veggie, and some sort of carb with each dinner that I provide. I will try to switch up what meats we use throughout the week as well just to add some variety. Often times I go for Italian dishes as we love those dishes as a family and they are easy to “whip up”.
Whenever I feel like we are in a “rut” I’ll grab my phone (for Pinterest of MyRecipe) or my cookbook. I got this great 1950’s era cookbook that covers anything you’d ever dream of cooking from baking a loaf of bread to burgers to appetizers. It’s one of the favorite things I’ve ever been gifted and something I reach for quite frequently. I also enjoy a couple other cookbooks that we have and look forward to continuing to collect more as the years go on.
Honestly, I encourage everyone to at least spend a little time in the kitchen. I don’t know if I really was able to capture in words the way I feel in a kitchen, preparing our meals, but it is not only a good feeling, but a sense of accomplishment at the end.
Are you a kitchen/food preparer/cook/baker person? Do you understand that feeling?