joy in the kitchen

There is something very enjoyable about preparing food for people I love. Grant it, sometimes it’s a hassle and other times I’d really like to go out and eat because I’m just too tired to stand in the kitchen. I always have good intentions, but my schedule and/or energy-level don’t always coöperate. On those rare moments when I feel the desire and also have the time and energy to cook and stock up, it’s really satisfying.

Today was one of those days. Actually, yesterday and today. Okay, Monday, Tuesday and today! What’s gotten in to me?! I think I’m just incredibly tired of cooking on the fly, just subsisting, nothing more. I’m also weary of throwing away food that I never got around to fixing before it went bad. I’m really tired of that. Really really tired. Really.

When I see people on television who’d be thrilled to have some of that thrown-away food,  I feel remorse for not paying better attention to my refrigerator and not planning my time better. I abhor wasting food!

Recently I signed up to make a meal for a group of people on Tuesday, so I decided to prepare the meat on Monday to save time.  Since I was going to be making a grease-spattering mess, I figured it’d be a good use of time to prepare a large amount of the meat all at once and freeze it in meal-sized portions for those days when getting food on the table is a challenge, which is most of the time! So, that got the cooking adrenaline pumping! I sautéed chicken in olive oil, batches and batches, and cut it into cubes, reserving enough to feed my friends and still have 5 or 6 meal-size portions to pack into the freezer for later.  Ahhhhh – satisfaction. I’d spent nearly 2 hours just cooking chicken, but I got 7 meals out of the deal!

Tuesday, I spent the morning in my kitchen fixing a spinach salad and homemade fettuccine alfredo with sun-dried tomatoes and chicken. (Yum, if I do say so myself!) I baked some Hello Dollies for dessert and voila! Delivered it and left happily, knowing I’d blessed my friends and their taste buds.

Today I had two huge boxes of fresh spinach to cook as well as a nice supply of ground turkey that was on sale at the grocery.  It seems like it’s been so long since I’ve had more than an hour or two at home that I just couldn’t resist more ‘kitchen time’.  I browned the turkey and seasoned one half for spaghetti and the other for taco soup. Then I steamed mounds of spinach, grated cups of cheese and made 3 spinach and cheese tarts (quishes) – two to freeze and one for dinner. Now I have food for sharing and for pulling a meal together in a flash.

I’m not sure what it is that pleases me most about doing this. Some people hate to cook. I hate to iron.

I love creating food that I know my family savors. I enjoy turning raw materials into something warm and nourishing and delicious. I also relish being home, listening to music as I move around my pleasant kitchen, full of gratitude for the gift of life. Just being here to cook is a joy.

Fragrant aromas, warmth, textures, tastes, colors, conversation around the dinner table; nurturing the ones I love . . . for me, this is life at its best.

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5 Responses to “joy in the kitchen”

  1. Kris Gnuse Says:

    Dear Kris,

    Cooking like this is a passion of mine! My husband and I do up about 14 recipes (2 meals or more from each) in a few days once a quarter and stock up our freezer. I’m much more motivated to cook for tomorrow than I am for today. *Laugh* I enjoy having a stocked up freezer so well that I’m always inspired to cook fresh meals for a week or so afterwards, so I can leave my freezer full of meals. It’s so sweet to hear you express the satisfaciton so well!

  2. Claudia Kaser Says:

    I love to cook too! I’m probably not as adventurous with it as it appears you are, but it’s fun (mostly) nevertheless! We had Caleb & Toktam & their two precious little ones over for dinner tonight. What an amazing young couple.

    I’m enjoying your blogs so much. How nice it is to get to know you a little bit with your wonderful words! THANKS for sharing!

    Hugs!
    Claudia

  3. Lisa Keith Says:

    Wow, Kris! I don’t know why, but I teared up when I read that post. You know me and my passion for cooking the “right thing” and the “right way”. I have been so saddend with waste these days and quite perplexed in figuring a way to get my kids to eat all that is on their plate (or the floor in Cash’s case). I am encouraged by your forethought and preparation of dinner and less overwhelmed in knowing it can be done! I often think that if I can get this system down or laundry done on this day every week things will be easier. I’m slowly learning that LIFE isn’t about systems, and I obviously don’t thrive when I am confined to them. Life is about living and doing what brings life!! Love you!

  4. Ellen Says:

    Kris,

    I’m inspired by your blogging and admire your candor. I’ve loved reading the adventures of your heart! Do you think I might get that receipe for the sqinach “quiche”? It sounds wonderful! My mother-in-law “broke the code” (pretty close!) for Grisantis creamy tomato tortellini soup…and it’s SUPER easy and quick. I’ll send you the receipe if you’d like!

    Keep on Blogging sister!

    Love and blessings – Ellen

  5. michelle saub Says:

    Kris,

    This was so sweet. And even inspiring. It made me want to cook more. I love cooking too. It has been a little different finding things to cook that my children like…they still love kiddie food and cooking for one is not always fun. I have loved reading your thoughts and insight this last week. It has been such an exciting part of my day. thanks for sharing your heart with the rest of the world. You should become published!!!! Love you, Michelle

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