“This kitchen is for dancing”
Growing up, cooking in the kitchen with my mom was always one of my favorite things to do. Whether I was helping to cook, doing homework at the kitchen counter, or just hanging out while my mom cooked, dinner time was a time that brought us all together. The kitchen was the space that we all came together and hung out after a long day, and even before dinner started.
In our day of modern convenience, I feel like we have lost some of the beauty in the space of the kitchen. We choose quick, convenient meals as opposed to those that take time and intentionality. We all have so much going on these days, that it feels like we are doing anything we can to just get a meal on the table by 7 o’clock, that the idea of choosing a recipe that takes longer than 30 minutes seems impossible.
There are whole Pinterest boards designated to quick and easy meals. Our life needs those hacks that create more time in our day. However, what if in the midst of trying to do things quickly, we are actually robbing ourselves of time. Choosing to give up that time in the kitchen together, the slow cooking, the dancing, the fellowship.
As important as finding effective and efficient ways to tackle life’s ordinary tasks, it is just as important to find ways to bring beauty and intentionality into our busy schedules. I think one way to do this is to find the art of slow cooking.
So how do we do this? Well, once a week, choose a meal that takes a little more simmering, and needs a little more attention. Use that time to turn on the music, bring the other family members into the prep of it, and enjoy one another. Instead of viewing it as taking a long time, view it as the family activity for the evening. A way to connect over something we all love. Food.
At the end of it all, you have an incredible home cooked meal that many hands helped prepare, and I guarantee that you will taste the difference.
I know that this can be hard, especially with little ones, because come 5:30 everyone is starving. So here are a few of my favorite things to do to make this experience enjoyable and something we look forward to as opposed to dread.
- Cook with others: dad can chop while the kids stir the sauce. Find jobs that everyone can do and be apart of
- Cook with a snack: buy some good cheese and crackers, or pull out the veggies. If you’re able to snack during the hour that you are slaving away in the kitchen, it will help quiet the rumbles and the kid’s complaints.
- Turn music on: Find a really good playlist, and turn it up loud. Enjoy the moments in between the cooking to dance and just be together.
- Don’t have a set time for dinner: instead of wondering when it is going to be ready, enjoy the whole experience. Then, when it takes way longer than you expected, no one is annoyed.
- Really enjoy the food: sit, rest, eat, quiet. Enjoy the 45 minutes at the table where you get to enjoy the work you just put in. Don’t shovel it down while trying to get to the next thing on the to do list for the night, but just savor the food, the time, and the company.
This world is never going to slow down, and quite honestly, I only see it speeding up. However, we can find ways to create time and space for ourselves and the people we love within the ordinary everyday. We can turn a necessary meal into a lovely and intentional evening as a family. We can make the ordinary special.
Photography by Samantha Brooks Photography