Sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious, so today I would like to remind myself, and you all of an obvious fact of life. Food is valuable. Not only is it of great worth, but it is essential.
1. necessary: of the highest importance for achieving something
Food is essential because it is of the upmost “importance” if we want to live. Food is one of those few real essentials in life, because we will quite literally die without it. Yet, for all of that, it’s rather neglected and looked down upon at times!
I am blessed to live in a country where it’s been a long while since we have had real famine and starvation. In fact, since the origins of our country we have been characterized by having plenty. Granted, there have always been the poor and hungry and there have been times of great want (and I know that many of us are struggling with jobs losses or pay cuts). But we have fared well overall throughout history.
There has been one disadvantage however. When you always have something, you tend to take it for granted. Take my life for example. My mother always made sure that our tummies were full, and I am blessed to never remember experiencing real want. Granted, my mother feed us “frugal food”, and I remember a lot of spaghetti, tacos, eggs on toast, casseroles, and canned tuna (food which I still love), but even though it was inexpensive food, we were quite well feed.
Now that I am buying the food, it’s not quite so easy to take it for granted! Food costs money. So while, when young, I took food for granted, now I can resent it’s cost, especially the cost of “real food.” When I look around me, I find that many not only resent the cost of food, they resent that it takes any time to prepare. “Slaves to kitchens and dishes? Not me!” During the feminist movement kitchen work became synonymous with oppression.
How did this happen? I believe that once we had frozen dinners, canned green beans, and then cheap fast food, the art of feeding your family good food fall out of vogue for the simple reason that feeding your family was no longer work.
When feeding the family became as simple as opening a can, reheating in the microwave, or getting take out, making dinner lost it’s appeal and importance in everyone’s eyes. It’s no wonder that many women fled from this unappealing realm!
Many of us have realized that there are many dangers to these instant meals, and have reclaimed the art of homemade food both as stay at home moms, working moms, and singles. But sometimes the stigmas that surround the kitchen can hamper our joy in it.
Don’t let it! Food is about as essential as it gets. After all, we would die without it. And there really is nothing like sitting down around warm, homemade, food. I truthfully think that these homemade meals express more than just “nourishment” to the body, but that they are an expression of love to those we feed.
Looking at other cultures, especially in the past, I find that food is given special importance, and that it’s celebrated. Each harvest is a celebration because it means one more year of survival. There is joy in working for food (whether harvesting or cooking) because of a great gratefulness that there will be enough.
I want to capture some of that joy and gratefulness to bring to my table. Sure, I get tired of cooking as it can seem so unending! And we eat simple, frugal food a lot. But even simple, frugal food is worth being grateful for.
I am not saying that everyone should spend all day in the kitchen, and I certainly don’t want to either. But I am saying that time spent in the kitchen preparing good food shouldn’t be viewed as drudgery, but as something important, even essential to having happy, grateful, productive lives.
What do you think? Are you able to view cooking as being a good use of your time? Or does it seem like a “waste” of time?
How important do you think food is? How much time do you think you should spend on it?