I used to not like being in the kitchen. Isn't that hilarious? I think it is, now that the kitchen is the space where I unwind at the end of each day. Long ago I wasn't that great of a cook. I'm sure I've told this story a million times, but the first meal I made in our crockpot in our new home as a married couple, I burned. We're talking BADLY burned food. We got home that night to a charred rock instead of the delicious meat I'd envisioned all day in my newlywed, naive head.
It is really quite laughable now. My heart was in it at least!
Somewhere along the way I learned to cook, at first using recipes like training wheels. I totally depended on them and if they threw me for a loop with a new ingredient or spice I didn't have, I was totally sure I was going to fail or fall. But as I practiced and grew in confidence, my style of cooking changed too. The kitchen went from the "have-to" spot in the house to the "want to." I wanted to be in among the mixing bowls and spoons, clanging and banging, moving swiftly from one counter to another.
At the end of each day (and really-the beginning and middle too), I needed the strong smells, the bubbling of a pot, the mixing and making, to keep me company. I've learned that no matter what goes on outside of the kitchen, the stuff that happens inside is usually good.
My burned leg incident makes me say "usually"!
This year my creativity in the kitchen has gone from one perspective of thought to another. I learned to can all by myself with our garden produce. This was a huge moment for me and definitely required me to follow every. single. rule and read and re-read every. single. step multiple times! But I'm happy to say, it worked! Every time I see the rows of neatly lined up peppers in the pantry, I am proud.
More often than not you can find me throwing a pinch of this, a bit of that, into a pot and making dinner or something else entirely like these tasty frozen banana treats.
I like to read cookbooks like I would a good novel. There's almost nothing better than sitting down with a good stack of cookbooks and settling in for a good read. I get this from my Grandma.
One of our favorite types of meals (ever) is a platter full of delicious, healthy foods like this salad bar plate we had one night. The girls are always much more inclined to eat a good dinner when they get to pick what goes on their plates. I suppose having a choice is rather fun, isn't it?
Although I'm the main cook in our home because I'm there more often, Brett certainly does his fair share! Over my birthday weekend he learned how to make pizza on the grill. Yet another food he has ruined me with. Same with burgers!
What I mean is, his version is seriously so good and so wonderful that it's totally ruined the excitement of going to a restaurant and ordering the same thing.
I'll take that kind of ruin any day! This particular night we fed the girls something else and made this pizza after they went to bed for an at-home date night.
It took me a long time to realize I could also be creative in the kitchen, much as I am with my art. Instead of paintbrushes I hold a spoon, parsley and peppers instead of paint.
This big bowl of goodness is as much a work of art to me as a painting or photograph. It's "made-up chicken coconut curry soup". I read a recipe here and there for it and then made up my own version. It was spicy and hot and filling and went straight to the heart.
In this season, I'm praying for new eyes to see how I might help others outside of my own family with this gift of creativity in the kitchen. After all, my most favorite types of creativity are the ones I share. Soup and some soul encouragement, anyone?