Cooking, gratitude & service

Cooking is a joyful thing.

It’s one of the ways we show love. There’s a sense of gratitude that’s stirred up when you prepare meals with your own hands, where you can account for the preparation process, mindset of the cook, and state of the kitchen.

Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Cooking is a journey that precedes the gift of serving and giving. Food isn’t just meant to be consumed; it’s to be shared and enjoyed. Sometimes the appreciation isn’t there, but that’s not why we cook for others. We cook because we care.

Have you ever received the gift of a meal being prepared just for you?

What was it like to receive that kindness?

As a teen, my school friend’s mum had an open door policy at her house. She enjoyed welcoming her four children’s friends over to the family home, in which a pot was almost always bubbling. We also had free reign to go into the cupboards and fridge to prepare something to eat or drink whenever inclined.

Trini meals cooked with love: from delicious soup and freshly baked whole wheat rolls to macaroni pie and lentil roast, food was available to all who happened to visit this open house on any given day. There was never excess, yet always enough. No matter how many showed up, somehow enough was left to feed who was coming. Aunty Lorna’s kindness knew no end, and she remains to be a blessing to this day. We never knew (or asked) if she was tired while cooking for a heap of hearts asking for a mama’s love. Her smile remains a steady constant.

That experience made a lifelong impression on the girl who ran away for a day far too often; the one whose dad seldom spoke and was struggling with Multiple Sclerosis; the one who received her first memorized hug at 15 and still wet the bed. That girl was me.

To this day, I give thanks for Aunty Lorna’s consistent kindness showed in her hugs, attentive ear, and cooking. She never caused us to feel unwelcome, only appreciated. She was and still is, tough. Underneath that toughness, is a tender carpet of unconditional love that shines through this persevering believer of grace.

Since then, I’ve know days when food was scarce but friends were generous and water was plenty, so though I’ve known seasons of ‘hard times’, the millions who go without food for longer than we can imagine, is a reminder to appreciate supply and reach out to those in need, whether in prayer, through a charity or deed.

I’m reminded of God’s supply which first exists in the nourishment of His Word. The same Word that shares of the Lord’s compassion and mercy shown through loving, healing, feeding, and thanksgiving.

There are many times when we get so immersed in doing something we love, we forget to eat for hours on end, but most of us in the West enjoy food at some point. One side of the planet is overweight while the other is beyond lean.

I’ve come to appreciate cooking, and be more grateful for provision. Every time the reality of the hunger in the world hits me, a prayer comes forth and I remember that we can do something about it, even in a small way.

Cooking with care for others is a way of showing kindness, whether it’s done by a responsible parent whose tending to their children, the “doubles” man at the side of the street, a personal chef, an employee who buys a homeless man lunch, charity members feeding the elderly in their neighbourhood, or a group of friends pitching together to prepare a wholesome meal for a friend in need.

The more I cook, the more compassion, kindness, and care I pray bubbles up and overflows with deeds that bless others. I’m not a chef, and don’t even know how to use a pressure-cooker or bake very well yet, but I sure am willing to learn how to show more love to others through cooking.

Care to join me on a cooking journey?

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