Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ooh La La

I just finished reading My Life in France by Julia Child.  I've always been fascinated by Julia Child, even though I didn't know much about her until this book.  When I've seen her on t.v., she's seemed warm, sincere, smart, and likable.  Those things came across in this memoir as well. Here's something that should be an encouragement to us all:  she didn't start seriously cooking until age 37.  

As I read about her love of France and French cuisine, a bit of a transformation took place in me. Though I've felt satisfied with my efforts as a cook up to this point in life, I felt drawn to take more care in my cooking and enjoyment of food.  I don't think food is quite as important to me as it was to her, but I think I would benefit from closer attention to creating meals. Meals are such an important part of who we are.  Taking the time to choose high quality ingredients, the time to prepare a savory dish, the time even to set a beautiful table can be life-enriching.  This doesn't mean it has to be difficult!  It could still be simple, because I think it is more in the mind-set than the action.

Sometimes I've thought of meals as a burden.  It's something I have to do to keep my kids alive and not go broke from eating out all the time.  But how much sweeter would it be to view them as the opportunity to nourish my family.  To see them as a way of expressing my love and creativity.  How much nicer to view them as times when relationships can grow and not only the physical need for nourishment can be met, but the emotional and spiritual as well.

This doesn't mean I plan on making everything from scratch from here on out.  But I might try it more often, just for fun.   Or maybe for the satisfaction of doing something myself, and doing it well.  Our culture has been in hurry-up mode for a while now.  It's evident in more areas than just cooking.  We want things done quickly, and we're willing to suffer the lower quality.  It might be nice to slow down a little bit, and take my time in the kitchen.  Quick meals are fine, but I shouldn't be afraid of something that takes a little more effort and time.

I've just been thinking about these things and how they might play out in my life.  I'd be curious to know if anyone else has had these thoughts and how they have affected the way you do things.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I have had these exact thoughts. I really enjoy cooking and trying new things. It is usually fun for me. But I think it is difficult to be creative and enjoy creating every meal when it feels like something you have to do rather than something you want to do...just like you said. Frankly, sometimes I feel like all I'm doing all day is preparing food and then cleaning up after the meals. And sometimes after a long day, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen. I am sure you feel the same way sometimes, but like you, I feel the pull to enjoy it more and do something special "just because." Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I just get food on the table.