I guess you don't have to cook a lot to still love the kitchen. Cause I don't (cook a lot) but I do (love being in my kitchen).
Old habits die hard, and the residency years pushed my cooking to the backburner, and our routine into the 'tried and true' mode versus the 'trying new recipes' mode. Rockstar and I aim for efficient and mostly healthy as we try to get dinner on the table in the whirlwhind that is the just-home-from-work dinner hour before bed.
But while I'm thrilled that my husband helps with the cooking workload, and happy not to live in an era where food prep takes all day, sometimes I still catch a glimpse of the magic that can exist in a kitchen.
I think it can be a place where we slow down, come together, and make tactile memories. I think it can be meditative rather than stressful to cook.
I think it can be therapeutic to use my hands and to pause with my thoughts.
I think it can be a place that feels safe. Where we talk to each other or to our kids in ways we might not if we weren't held captive by hands covered in flour and sugar.
Most of my time is not spent in my kitchen. And most days I'm really happy about that. But there are other days when I re-discover what I love about my kitchen and the way I relate to my family there.
Yesterday was one of those days.
I stood at my window while I cooked and washed and thought about all the things I love about my kitchen.
I love my view:
**My family playing in a suddenly blooming yard. Seaglass to remind me of the beach**
I love my little helper who is so proud that she gets to dump the ingredients carefully into the bowl all by herself.
See? We are not just cooking. We are practicing fine motor skills, playing, and instilling confidence. We are also snitching even though we have been told not to. "I know mom, it has raw eggs in it," she says. Sometimes I let it slide.
I love the little bodies who play at me feet, sometimes calling out 'mamamama' because they want to see what's happening high on a counter top.
I love the ipod that plays tunes for us, and the spontaneous dance parties that we have between chopping this and dicing that. I love the look of surprise and delight on Tiny's face when I do a crazy jig, because she gets that it's a little unexpected for an adult to be so silly.
I love these cookies. I love the way they smell. I love the way Tiny can spot the smell immediately if she wakes from a nap while I'm baking them. "Is mommy baking cookies?" I hear her ask excitedly. I want her to remember me baking cookies when she is big and grown and has flown the coop.
I love that we made them before dinner yesterday, and even ate a few just to whet our appetite.
I love when a friend passes on a recipe that jumpstarts my 'kitchen loving' engine again and breaks me out of a cooking rut. I'm a person who responds well to feeling inspired. So, when Kyra sent me a rave review of a black bean burger recipe, I felt inspired. And it was a homerun. I love how fresh everything looks in my cuisinart.
I love how satisfying it feels to feed my family. To feed them something healthy and delicious. I love how it feels when Tiny says, "Thanks for making the burgers, mommy."
I remember when I was young saying, "Well, when I'm a mom, I would totally hire someone to cook all my family's meals if I could afford it. Then I could spend more time with my kids!" And most days, I'd probably say 'h to the eck, yeah' if someone offered to cook all of our meals. But then other days, when I've gotten a little more sleep (ha!), I think:
I like the magic that goes on here. The process is all part of the delicious result.