On Cooking And The Dinner Table

One thing that can be said of our modern culture is that we cook less than ever before. The microwave has replaced the oven in many homes. And while prepackaged meals aren’t inherently bad, often they lack quality and add to the rushed pace that has become our norm.

When I was growing up, my mom and dad cooked our meals. Sure, maybe once a week we would get pizza or Burger King or Chinese food, but most of our food was prepared in the oven and served at the table. There was always a protein, a starch and some vegetables. We didn’t have fancy dinners and our table was a small one in the kitchen, but the food was good and we almost always ate together.

What happened? It seems that parents and children rarely sit down to eat anymore. If they do, it’s in front of the television or while staring at their cell phone. It’s hard to enjoy a meal if you’re completely preoccupied by something else.

I cook. I cook a lot. Well, a lot for a single vegetarian girl. I make chili and quinoa burgers, fritatas and french toast, roasted vegetables and loaded potatoes. And I share all of it. My friends are well fed! What I have found is that cooking is like meditation. It forces me to slow down and focus.  Then there is the sharing. Serving healthy food that I prepared with my hands to friends and family is an amazing feeling. When you eat mindfully with people you care about, not only are you nourishing your body, but you’re feeding you soul.

So the next time you’re reaching for a pop tart or a hot pocket, consider taking a little time and preparing something that you can sit down and truly enjoy. And if you can grab someone to enjoy it with…all the better.