Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Connective Power of Food

Boyfriend and I are embarking on a new tradition: cooking together.  Up until this point he has only been encouraged to enter the kitchen in order to cook ground beef while I chop veggies (ground beef is the base for several of the meals that I make - don't worry, I buy it as lean as possible within my budget).  But now he is showing an interest in taking a more participatory role in the food that we eat.  Last night we went to the grocery store at around 8:30 and spent an hour picking up some necessities and picking out some treats.  He then decided that he wanted to cook breakfast in the morning (something he has never done in the 4 years that we have been together).  So we picked up bacon, eggs and hashbrowns and this morning we created a wonderful breakfast together (well more like a brunch - boyfriend is damn near impossible to get out of bed before 11 am.

This whole excursion has got me thinking about the connective power of food, in particular, of sharing the entire process of food, from shopping, to storing, to preparing and cleaning up.  The grocery store was fairly deserted so we were able to meander through the aisles, picking out items and playing around.  It was one of the most fun evenings that we have had since the summer ended.  I am hoping that we can make this a weekend tradition and that working together to create something will bring us even closer.  Cooking always brings me back to my mother's kitchen, making spaghetti sauce or homemade soup.  It was always just us girls and we were able to have some of the most amazing conversations over the smell of simmering vegetables.  I am sure that my mother also flashes back to her mother's kitchen and her 6 sisters talking, laughing, sharing and eating. 

I often wonder what we are losing in our ever increasingly fast paced world.  These days hardly anyone cooks from scratch.  Most people prepare meals from pre-packaged dinners which are hyped as being fast and convenient.  How many children have never witnessed a meal created from real, fresh ingredients, or spent an afternoon in a warm, comforting kitchen, stirring a dish while mom or dad cut up vegetables?  What are our children missing out on when we prefer fast and easy to slow but filled with love?


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