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?
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Great post – I was just thinking somehting along these lines today after “slaving” in the kitchen all afternoon. How easy it can be to get resentful to do so much work that seems to vanish in an instant, or worse, is taken for granted. But it doesn’t really vanish in an instant afterall — b/c when I make nourishing food I’m investing in the health of my daughter and the health of her children as well. And when I feel like I am slaving I mostly feel that way b/c I am assuming in my head how others view the time spend in the kitchen – looking down on it, not respecting, or appreciating it as they would if I said I spent hours “working” for one of the large organizations I have in the past. So often I hear from other women that “I don’t cook” implying that it is the much more hip way to be or that women who do spend large amounts of time in the kitchen are just not as interesting. I try not toeven think what my former male collegues would think of me spending so much time in the kitchen. But when I do, I try to remember something along the lines that, “What the world sees as the least of the these, God sees as the greatest, and what the world thinks is important is completely different from what God thinks is important.” If anyone has read about Pottenger’s studies (http://www.ppnf.org/catalog/ppnf/) then they would see
there is no such thing as “personal health.”
How we chose to nourish ourselves not only effects the environment and oppressed peoples from other nations, but it effects the future generations in our lineage. What I eat impacts my daughter’s health not just now, but in old age, and it also in turn inpacts her daughter’s health and her daughter’s health. We nourish not just our children, but also our unborn grandchildren and their children.
So too are studies proving more and more that what we feed ourselves effects our mental states and our emotions, which in turn effect how we treat others!! Food indeed greatly impacts our relationships. With everyone and everything! As it seems to be losing its place of honor and integrity in our modern culures (most of Europe included), please let us not forget that how we nourish oursleves and one another is the most important thing.
Nothing is our own. No thing.
Yes – time spent preparing good food is well spent for many reasons!
Thinking about the necessity of food, yet also how it really never fully satisfies, reminds me to drink from Living Water and eat of the True Bread of Life. As I am nourished by the Bread of Life, I am better able to contentedly “slave” away when I don’t feel like it! On the other hand, I also have to be careful that I don’t use the kitchen inappropriately as an “escape.” Cooking can be a great creative outlet but can also be a selfish way to use time if I’m not prioritizing well!
But speaking of bread and creativity, do you have a recipe on here for those bread twists in your photo?! 🙂
I am a strong feminist and I absolutely adore cooking. I don’t quite understand how the womens movement gives cooking a bad name, except that perhaps many women didn’t want to be in the kitchen cooking. That is definitely their prerogative of course. Personally I wish I could spend half my time cooking and half my time pursuing my other creative passions. I am single with no kids. I absolutely LOVE cooking a big meal for my boyfriend and wish I could do it every night. And he loves making me a huge breakfast on Sunday. Last Sunday it took us 3 hours to make a big pancake breakfast (including rising time for his yeasty pancakes). Usually when I make him dinner it takes about 2 hours from start to finish. if I made us dinner every night I would not go to as much effort each night. My dinners usually take about 20 minutes to make, but they are generally from scratch as I only buy a very select few processed foods. I much prefer fresh whole foods.
I am an acupuncturist. We work with energy. I think that the energy of a joyful cook who is seeking to provide her family with nourishment makes a far more nourishing meal than something out of a can or something prepared with resentment (even from scratch). No wonder you can never quite get the same pleasure from a meal at a restaurant (unless that’s mostly all you’ve ever known!).
I love, love, love, your website! Have you posted the breadstick recipe that accompanies this post? It looks amazing. My family children and husband (and I) have been following Weston Price dietary guildines for about six months and your recipes have made our transition much easier and much more delicious. I spend more time on food prepartaion now than I did before, but I think it is worth it.
Thank you for this post! I’ve always hated to cook (and I’m single which doesn’t help) but you have encouraged me to feel what I am doing and why I am doing it. I always understood the importance of whole real foods but needed the spirit to go with it. Since I signed up for your site, I’ve actually started shopping with a different view and I can say I’m actually anticipating what I can create that will keep me healthy (and out of the doctor’s office). So now I’m wondering who else I can “cook” for…LOL! What a change!
Thank you for this post. It came with perfect timing. It’s 10:30pm and I’ve got homemade tomato sauce simmering on the stove, and cucumbers soaking waiting to be made into pickles. I look around at the dishes and the huge pile of compost that needs to go outside and think – is this really worth it? Picking the tomatoes, basil, oregano, boiling, peeling, chopping, simmering, blending, and then canning it.
But this post says it perfectly. I cook because it gets me back to my roots and to my ancestors. How many people can say they make their own ____ from scratch? From products of their own garden?! I cook because it is nourishing for the body and for the soul. And sometime this winter when the snow is flying I can open up a can of my tomato sauce and know exactly where it came from and who made it. 🙂
I have had a few thoughts on this since I started cooking traditional food in early February. I am amazed at the effect of food on our health as I gained so much more energy and watched my daughter get weaned off of prescription drugs. I am thrilled that the Lord gave women such an important role in our families. We literally have the power to build or destroy our families by how much care we take in feeding them. Many may scoff at “slaving” in the kitchen, but to me it is a labor of pure love for my husband and my children. And I take great delight in doing what the Lord called me to do, and I know He takes delight in me doing it.
I remember some friends from France who came over to the US for a visit when I was in high school. They were shocked at how much prepared food we used. They said in France, every teen knew how to make spagetti sauce from scratch and bread, too. My mom’s friend made us dinner one night- she was cooking all afternoon and loving every minute of it! We had ratatouille, some cream of greens soup, baked cod and french bread with some kind of spread- homemade, of course. She was shocked that we had “stores” but no fresh daily markets. My mom said maybe in NY but this was a small town in WI. (Today, we have more options in smaller towns with farmers’ markets.) But witnessing her enthusiasm for cooking really affected me. And I hope to really enjoy cooking more and more each day. It’s so easy to focus on the drudgery of making three meals from scratch each day for six people. I want to prepare daily food for my family with love- not complaints or frustration.
wonderful post. My husband thanks me every evening for dinner and tells me that he appreciates the care I put into preparing healthy and delicious meals for him and the kids.
I was trying to refer to what I believe is often called “second wave” feminists, in the ’60’s and ’70’s who often made demeaning comments about housework and kitchen work. I believe this was in response to the feeling that women’s sole role was to be at home in the house cleaning and cooking. I didn’t mean that current feminists took that view (though, I have unfortunately had several remarks directed towards me because of the time I spend in the kitchen by feminists! But I am sure that that isn’t true all around!).
But feminists haven’t been the only ones to look down upon meal preparation! The well to do in the past have always considered it beneath them to do housework or cook. There’s nothing wrong with having a cook, if you can afford it, but I don’t think that we should consider it “lowly” work. It’s very important work!
Thanks so much for the great feedback. It sounds like you are a hard working bunch. 🙂 And I am so glad that some of you, like Katie, have seen such a positive difference in feeding healthy, whole food to her family.
I always get miffed when I hear “feminists” shame women who choose to be stay at home mothers and housewives. Feminism is about having the right to be able to do what you choose to in life, and having equal rights for the sexes. It isn’t any more liberating to be forced or shamed into something by a woman than it is by a man.
I would get just as angry if I heard someone try to force or shame a woman to stay home when she didn’t want to though.
I don’t really care about having a high status job as long as I am living life the way i want to live it. I am not there yet, but I am working towards it…and climbing the corporate ladder just isn’t my style 😉
This is a great post! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the subject.
Since I’ve begun preparing traditional foods (about a year ago) I’ve heard so many people express surprise. Why do I bother with things that take more time? The other day I read a response (to someone else’s statement that they made ketchup) that said “You made ketchup?! You must be really bored! That stuff’s $.88 a bottle at Winco!” And it made me so sad. Do they not know what is IN that bottle?!
I believe that kitchen work can be joyful work. Thanks for affirming that food preparation is valuable.
I am puzzled as to why my post has not been published? I would appreciate a reponse.
I don’t know why your comment wasn’t published earlier. Sorry about that! It is now. As to your question about the breadsticks, I am afraid I don’t have that recipe up yet. But will try to soon. 🙂
no problem…please do post it soon as it looks so delicious!
Wonderful post and important subject for each person to think about. I have always thought cooking a homemade meal was an expression of love. I also love to cook, a frugal meal or a fancy meal. Either way it is fun.
Cleaning up afterwards………icky:)