Every morning, my family gathers in the kitchen. Charlie and I work together to prepare our delicious breakfast. One of us cuts up fruit while the other prepares the red cabbage and kale that we steam together. The whole-grain cereal is heating on the stove. We know we’re about to enjoy a meal that provides our eyes, our taste buds, and every cell in our bodies a joyful experience.
But our family includes some other very important members, and they join us, too. It’s like a party!
I love this part of our day. As we sit down to eat our breakfast, we rejoice over the abundance of our lives — the wonderful food that sustains us so well, that provides the energy from the sun in a form we can digest, as well as all the nutrients that keep us strong and healthy. We laugh at the antics of our 4-legged kids. We plan the rest of our day. We occasionally spot a moose, fox, or even wolf out our window, usually on the far side of the lake. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Then, because we work from home, Charlie and I go to our separate office spaces and work on the projects of the day, but we regroup to share our lunch and dinner together. Some days get crazy, as they do for everyone, but these meals together provide a feeling of connection and stability in our lives, and we treasure them.
As a child, I used to work side-by-side with my mother in the kitchen, enjoying this time together as a special treat. I was one of four children and it wasn’t always easy to get one-on-one time with her, so helping in the kitchen provided a great opportunity. I especially remember learning to bake pies with her. She would prepare and roll out the crust while I got the fruit ready, and in no time, it seemed, we had a pie in the oven.
As I began to contemplate offering a summer vegan camp, I immediately thought about how much fun it would be for everyone to have an opportunity to work and play together in the kitchen. Working together creates a certain camaraderie and it’s a great way to be in relationship with other people, taking away some of the awkwardness we sometimes feel with people we don’t know very well yet. It’s also a great way to learn by doing, rather than just by watching. And there’s something so satisfying about enjoying the results of our own efforts and sharing them with others.
I’d love to hear about your experiences in the kitchen. Have you had some special times with anyone, as I have? Is there someone in your life now that you could invite into your kitchen to make the “work” more fun? Or do you enjoy having some time to yourself as you prepare meals?
So much of life is about relationships — relationships with ourselves, with our food, with friends, family, and critters. Let’s make the most of them!
Delisa is a plant-based nutrition and cooking instructor in Alaska. She believes that we are designed to be slim and healthy.