I am tired.
This week has been one of those weeks.
Life sometimes pulls in a million directions and right now I can feel it pulling.
Children, the maintenance of a home, behind the scenes blogging work, new chickens, a garden that desperately needs to be tilled and planted, upcoming parties needing plans, family events, maintaining friendships, a toddler that doesn’t quite get my need to sleep through the night, and the loads of little tasks which must be accomplished.
Despite my tired state my family still needs to be fed.
Eating real food means cooking and not just cooking, but from scratch. Now, I love to cook. I could spend hours in my kitchen cooking, baking, and tasting.
Okay, lots of tasting goes on.
Sometimes, I am just tired and cooking a meal from scratch to nourish my family three times a day is a labor of love.
As I stood in the kitchen last night prepping dinner, I watched my three year old eagerly take out the rolling pin, reach for the flour, and work the mixer. He was clearly excited about the idea of pizza for dinner, a rare occurrence on a Tuesday night. Breaking tradition.
Piper gently pushed his chair to the kitchen counter and helped with every step from making the dough to the sauce to grating the cheese. His one year-old sister stood on the chair next to him approving, taste-testing each stage of pizza making.
With pizza in the oven and dishes piled in the sink, ice cream was requested for an after dinner treat. The ice cream maker was put to work with cream, milk, honey, and vanilla churned together.
I truthfully didn’t feel like taking a few extra minutes to whisk the ingredients together, but the squeals of joy as the kids waited for the cream to churn, little fingers dipping in every few minutes to taste, and the ice cream mustaches that resulted, changed my tired mind.
Dinner and dessert were homemade and delicious. My family was nourished another day.
As I stood in the kitchen doing the dishes, I thought how tired I felt and how much work it requires to nourish my family with real food, daily. I also thought about the giggles and smiles I heard and experienced as the kids eagerly helped. The joy and conversation in the kitchen that night as we added ingredients, tasted, and celebrated dinner being created.
As I washed each dish, thinking about the experience of real food, the act of sourcing it, cooking from scratch, developing, recreating, and passing down family recipes, I realized real food is a gift.
A gift that takes work and sacrifice to give, but is given out of love and a desire to bless the recipients.
Despite my tired state, my spirit was lifted to think that my children are receiving a gift that is rare and valuable. One they can pass on to their children, remembering the times we shared in the kitchen, cooking, making messes and celebrating our creations.
In a day of packaged food, microwavable meals, and instant drive-through windows, it is so easy to become discouraged with a real food lifestyle. The extra time it requires can seem unnecessary, but shouldn’t time spent in the kitchen nourishing our family be the norm?
Before the age of instant food, moms took pride spending time in the kitchen, growing food, prepping food, sourcing ingredients. Recipes were passed down, children were properly nourished, a family sat down together to eat, and food was celebrated for the nourishment it gave and the effort it took to harvest and prepare.
Today, many children lack even the basic knowledge of where food comes from, how food it is prepared, and the idea that food is meant to be enjoyed as a social gathering with ones you love.
Despite of my tired condition, I am energized and inspired when I think about the gift my children are receiving. The gift your children are receiving. Gifts often take sacrifice and time, but aren’t those the best parts of giving a gift?
The Gift of Real Food:
- Time: Real food takes time to prepare and cook. What a gift for our children to learn that good things are worth investing quality time in. I desire to teach my kids that life isn’t always instant and the best things in life require planning and hands-on time. Preparing real food teaches this principal in a real way.
- Variety: Instant, packaged, processed food always tastes the same. Real food constantly varies in taste. Ever made a recipe and thought, “This just doesn’t taste the same as it did last time”? Milk changes with seasons, fruit and vegetables vary in their tastes depending on soil, the variety grown, and even the location. All effecting the taste of the foods we prepare. Learning to experience a variety of color, tastes, and textures which constantly change are gifts children will never learn in a processed, instant food world. As Julia Child said, “How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?“
- Hard Work: Making real food isn’t easy. With planning and preparing ahead of time, the process of making real food can be simplified, but even planning and prep work requires work. Seeking out food sources, shopping, tending to a garden/animals, baking, and cooking all require hard work. Work that was once valued and honored, but today is looked upon as unnecessary. The amount of time we spend nourishing our family has been replaced with TV, movies, extracurricular activities, and loads of social events. Real food teaches children that working hard is valued.
- Celebration: Food was once celebrated as something that took time to harvest and prepare. Thought went into meals, ingredients were appreciated and respected. Today, food is something we shovel in our mouths on the way to the gym to work it all off. The Lord created food with a variety of textures, tastes, and eye-appealing colors and when these all come together with hard work, time, and effort the end result with a dish worth enjoying and celebrating. Hard work pays off and is worth celebrating with those you love.
- Relationships: When real food is prepared in the kitchen, a family must be home and this means people interact with each other. Even the smallest of children can help with making dough or scooping veggies in a bowl. Working and creating together builds family relationships and encourages discussion. This also means real food is, for the most part, enjoyed together at the dinner table where relationships are fostered as family members interact.
If you have felt discouraged about the time and effort that goes into real food, let me encourage you, real food is a gift.
A gift that requires love, sacrifice, and lots of time, but one our children will appreciate as they get older. The lessons learned from real food go far beyond just a simple meal on the dinner table.
Real, home-cooked, scratch food is a rare gift today and one that is ever so valuable!
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