Friday, April 08, 2011

To Eat or Not to Eat, That is the Question

I miss my mother. I think she could help me understand what I need to do to get myself into the kitchen. I miss how she loved me enough to take care of me. That should be me. I neglect myself. I need to be like my mother.

You see, I don’t cook.

I can cook, I just don't. Not very often. Every time a meal goes by that I have not prepared, I feel a twinge of guilt. If I have guests and I cannot prepare them a meal, even for completely legitimate reasons, I lose just a little bit more self-respect.

Is cooking like a muscle? Use it or lose it? I have cooked. I took several years of home economics. I’ve forgotten most of it, the frequency dwindled down to occasional Norwegian Pancakes for breakfast, an annual Christmas turkey and the infrequent pot roast. I watch and marvel as friends host parties with exotic themes and serve international foods and flavours.

I bring buns or a veggie tray. 

Some use their creative gifts to put together spices and flavors, balanced choices from the four food groups or fabulous desserts, blessing everyone around them with their culinary skills - like the artisan they are.

I feel a little crippled. I thought I'd come to terms with it, saying I don’t have that gift. Or desire. Or time. But it's troubling me more as time goes by.

I aim, instead, to nourish the soul and spirit more than the body. I write. This is something we all studied in school. But I do it more intentionally. This is a good thing. In brings in some income. But it does not bring families together around a table. Am I wrongly comparing gifts? Apples to oranges? 

On the other hand, everybody has to eat. Not everybody has to write.

For me, neglecting the body seems to be poor stewardship. I don’t have to cook to nourish my body. If I cooked it would be less expensive financially but more expensive chronologically. I would have less time to write.

So I buy take-out. Not always junk food, but the best I can find. Or we eat out. It’s obvious that we don’t starve, but I think we are missing out on the best part of relationship. That sense that someone loves enough to nourish, and time spent basking in the glow of one another around an artistic meal.

Oops. There's the lie. "If only I were a good enough cook, I'd have better relationships."  

Is this a practical matter of stewardship that I need to practice more? Or should I make peace with it? Is it possible that being a domestic goddess is NOT a calling for some people? Is this just resistance rearing its head? Or fear that my gift won't be good enough. (Another lie).

Would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I'll start with the pink elephant. Your fabulous mother had 8 mouths to feed plus your daddy! With 7 growing boys and a hard working man not to mention baby girl. I imagine she had to get really creative sometimes. Necessity is the mother of invention! I have often wanted to ask her advise on mothering multiple boys and have imagined how much she would have liked watching Konrad eat her meals had she known him. :)

    It is my experience...for me...that being a domestic goddess keeps one from being or doing much else, especially while there are kids at home. Make peace with it and pursue it at the same time. Maybe start with one evening a week or month in dedication to this nourishing of others around the table. My advise: join the funnest cooking/culinary class you can find....better yet combine your love for writing with this subject in some way.

    Be who you are, because you are the only one who can be. I think you are awesome!

  2. I'm with you, Joyce. I think we can nurture relationships without the food. How many of us are overweight, partially because we think relationships revolve around food? I don't enjoy cooking, although I can, have, and do cook. My sisters are great cooks, and enjoy serving guests. I grew up with meals being the center of entertaining. My mother was a great cook. If I can avoid cooking, I will, much to my mother's chagrin.

    We can nurture in other ways. You can nurture the spirit with your writing. I can nurture my mother with a daily visit with her in the nursing home. My husband nurtures others with his PowerPoint in a Sunday School class.

    As Debbie said, "Be who you are...". We each have our gifts to be used of the Lord.