I guess I am just a traditional farm girl. Dinner was when everyone gathered around the table to eat together. Always. Every night. I really never considered any other option. The idea of people eating all different times and having different food is a totally foreign concept to me.
So here are the 3 Key Reasons I cook dinner every night (unless on that rare occasion we go out).
- The food I cook and serve is an expression of love. Family, friends, heck even total strangers, are welcome at my table. Preparing healthy home cooked food is one of my passions. I like my kitchen, I like my kitchen tools, I like handling food. I appreciate what went into growing that food, harvesting that food, and how it tastes. And the kitchen is the heart of the home to me. There’s nothing better than having someone comes in and ask what smells so good. And then telling them they can sit down and have some.
- It’s cheaper than eating out. I have always been willing to pay someone for their services. With the pet shipping business I used to tell my clients that I didn’t fix my own vehicle (though my husband often did!) and I didn’t fix my own computer. I would pay someone who expressly had that knowledge (hence they should hire me to move their pet). So I don’t mind paying someone else in a restaurant to cook for me. I know there is a lot of overhead that goes into running a food establishment, and I don’t be grudge the charge for that dinner. But I wouldn’t pay for it every night.
- I control the quality and preparation of my food. I can choose the vegetables that I grew, or get them from a local farmers market,where they are likelier to be fresher and therefore more nutritious than those trucked to a supermarket. I love stopping at those little stands in the side roads of America to see what that farmer or gardener has for sale. When I cook or bake, I can control the amount of fat, and sugar the recipe uses. And I am not adding preservatives and chemicals.
Though it’s not one of my personal top reasons, cooking can bring people together. I don’t have children, but I do remember growing up being in the kitchen with mom a lot – watching and helping when she let up. One of my favorites pictures from my teenage years is my little niece, at the counter with me, helping make cookies. Flour everywhere, dough on her fingers, but we had fun, and I still remember it.
Today I am more likely to have friends in my kitchen working with me than family, since we are spread out across the state. Even so, there is a camaraderie and sometimes even teaching moments when I can share something I have learned with another. I am occasionally amazed at how little some people know about food preparation and cooking. I hope that I can encourage and show them that they can make a homemade meal, bread from flour and yeast, or homemade mac and cheese that doesn’t come from a box!
And I hope I can pass on some knowledge from the homestead to you as well.