It struck me tonight the connections created by cooking. Cooking is one of my passions… I list it as a hobby. One of the few activities I’ve always done regardless of how crazy life becomes. It is easier for me to indulge my passion of creating good food since I’m working inside of the home. And I believe I’ve passed my love onto my son. My son is always with me. That includes being with me in the kitchen. He was in the kitchen with me in his Baby Bjorn (facing out because goodness forbid he’s miss anything) to when he first started to crawled around trying to pull himself up by the cabinet door handles to see what I was doing to now, when at almost three, he pulls the chair up right next to me at the counter wanting to help me cook. He is passionate about his play kitchen and drags it into the kitchen so he can cook too. It seems like we’ve always cooked together and he is quite a helper. Early on he would bring me the veggies I asked from the fridge and could clean mushrooms with a brush (OK, maybe crumble them.) His first “real” foods when he was about one were potato-leek soup with sausage and chicken curry. He is the only child I know who will turn his nose up at chicken nuggets because they aren’t really chicken and can’t get enough of salmon.
As a family, we cook together regularly and make a point of sitting down to meals together. Tonight, we cooked together. We made schnitzel and it is a process: pound the chicken thin, season, dust with flour, dunk in egg, and dredge in bread crumbs. My son helped pound the chicken with my husband and then season it. He was so pleased to be participating… announcing what he was doing and what seasoning he was using… salt and pepper. A lot can get done when cooking. A lot of connecting through doing, laughing, and talking. It brought back memories for me as a child. My Mom did a lot of cooking. I remember sitting at the kitchen table doing homework while Mom cooked. We would talk about nothing special or something specific. Sometimes we’d just sing along to the music playing. The kitchen was a place to be.
Even to this day, the kitchen is the most comforting place in the house for me and for which I’m drawn to in every house. People say the kitchen the heart of the home and I really do believe that to be a true statement. It doesn’t matter how big or fancy your kitchen is, it matters the interactions and connections made there while cooking there.
This post was originally published on Ann-Sense on January 18, 2010.