Friday, January 10, 2014

Preparing Food With Love: Cooking As Ministry

Food is so much more than providing sustenance to a body. 
So much more than filling a belly.

It's about nourishing a soul.

I was reminded of this yesterday. An idea that I've always believed in with my whole heart, but often forget.

I spend a lot of my time and energies in the kitchen. It's something I don't have to do (and I tell my family that, sometimes), but feel impelled to. It's a big part of my life's calling. A talent and a gift I'm grateful to have been blessed with: The keeper of the home. The nourisher. The nurturer.

I want to give the best. And that means the healthiest, the most beautiful, the most sustaining, the most comforting food I can offer.

This job is not easy. It means work. A sacrifice in many ways. Some days I wonder if the effort I give is worth it, if it matters.

Monday is always my big kitchen work day. I made granola. I made tortillas. I made energy bars. That night I was back to make a big pot of curry for dinner. It was was well liked, but I ended up with a ton of leftovers. Wondering how and if they'd get eaten.

Sweet Ivana came over and I told her about what I had made and would she like to take a jar home? As I was in the process of doing so, she started to cry. A big cry. She could hardly express how much she loves the food I make and share with her. How she loves to come to our home for dinner. That what I've done and what I do means so much to her.

I was touched to the core.

Maybe what I do does matter.

And then there was yesterday.

I had been given the opportunity to bring a meal over to my friend who is battling cancer. A chance to feed her sweet family. I've been feeling so inadequate in not knowing how I could help her. Wishing I could just take this all away, but knowing I can't.

I do know that feeding them is something I can do. Something I'm good at.

So yesterday I spent another day in the kitchen. Such a strong feeling all day long that what I was engaged in was holy work. I was ministering with food. It made me so happy. I almost felt a reverence with each vegetable I chopped, each kneading of the dough, each stir of the pot. Every movement, every action, every step filled with thoughts of them, along with a deep intention, sent to each of their spirits of love and peace and joy.

Later on in the day, Isaac's friend came over after school. I fed them each a snack of apples and peanut butter on their own little plates and later when his mother came inside to pick him up, she wondered about all the amazing smells coming from the kitchen. They left happily with a bread stick to share and said, "Your house is always so homey."

All of this reminding me again (just when I needed the reminder, too) with the sense that my work in the kitchen is the heart of my home. Almost the heart of my life. And it does matter. Truly.

Friends, if you ever forget this, if you, like I do sometimes, get caught up in the mundane and the drudgery, please remember that preparing and sharing food has so much power for good in this world. Not only as a way to bless your own, but others beyond the family circle who need a bit of comfort and nurturing.

And we all need that, don't we?

And do you know what? The one that will really be nourished the most is you. The deep- down- in- your- heart knowing that the sharing and serving of love this way; those gifts of food you provide and offer with your heart and your hands- all of it will bring such a sense of fulfillment and happiness to your soul.

I hope you can feel this like I did yesterday.

~archived from February 8, 2012


  1. OH how I struggle with this one! I hate dinner time…did I just say that? It's just that I never know what to make, and then get complaints when I do…there is no hope that my youngest will ever like anything but cucumbers and alfredo! My husband had the best mother who cooked every single day…he loved how comforting it was, he yearns for it…I need to do better, I know it is so important! but how do you enjoy it when it's something you'd rather not do…like EVER!? ;) Don't get me wrong, I do cook almost every night, but somehow I need to find the joy and blessing in it like you do…you need to print a recipe book my friend!

  2. I love to read your blog, and this is my favourite post yet. Thank you for sharing your life with us. <3

  3. It has been a long time since I have left a comment, but I want you to know I love your blog. This post brought a memory to me of a film titled "Babette's Feast". Perhaps you have seen it. If not, I highly recommend it. I love your art and ministry. It touches more lives than you may know.

  4. You know, a while ago you posted a kitchen prayer of sorts, along this line. I printed it off and put it on my fridge. I'm going to take a picture snd show you! Feeding others is a ministry, well daid in todays post. Might I also recommend the movie "how to cook your life" very poignant on the concept of this. You are a comfort for so many Emily.

  5. I loved this. Such a good reminder. I just read Bread and Wine this last year and so enjoyed her thoughts on food as well. For us mamas who spend lots of time in the kitchen, this is a good reminder of the importance and privilege of what we do.