The kitchen as sanctuary

I once thought that cooking was just another chore: something else to do so the family could eat. Most days, I’d look at the clock wonder what I’d make for my seemingly-always-hungry loved ones expecting some kind of food for dinner.

My, how times have changed.

I recently turned down dinner out with my beloved, just because I had a beautiful salmon filet in the fridge. I chose messing up my kitchen, making dirty dishes, in favor of salmon baked in coconut oil and coated with freshly ground seasonings.

And I don’t regret it.

Now, with a full work schedule and four times-a-week training on the bike, I don’t have as much time to cook as I wish I did. But by golly, when I do have free time, I have my humble little kitchen with the double window over the chipped enamel sink where I can play with ingredients.

After a busy workweek, I can knead bread dough while I watch birds at the feeder. After work, I can peel, slice, chop and marinate, season, sear, simmer and taste a whole world of flavors and smells. On weekends, I can feast my eyes on colorful vegetables and fruits, comforting whole grains and farmer’s market meats. I don’t have to leave my little nest to savor good meals. And I have the privilege of sharing nourishing food with my beloved—gifts of the heart and hands created to please as well as sustain.

Cooking also has a way of reminding me of past meals, and the people I shared them with.

Since I’ve learned that the pleasures of food begin well before mealtime, I’ve learned to savor the preparation more. My kitchen is a sort of sanctuary from the outside world, a place where good food and memories are made.