The Art of Sacrificial Love and Good Hot Meals
Home chefs who cook for entertainment get accolades and adoration. The family baker gets “oohhs” and “aahhs” when a gooey, chocolatey confection is presented. For many of these chefs, cooking is a passion, hobby, and art.
Then there is another type of domestic culinary specialist…the daily home cook. Responsible for the day-to-day feeding of the family, this cook has to negotiate varied tastes, budgetary constraints, hectic eating schedules, and the constant threat of cooking monotony on a perpetual basis. This cook sometimes acquires this job through necessity and not necessarily through passion.
I learned the art of feeding my family from my mother, Earleen LaVera Churchill White, our family’s daily cook. Even though cooking was not necessarily her passion, she did it with dedication, style, and flair. She explored innovation (dishwasher poached cod in foil packets were, in fact, quite delicious) and she was quick to explore a wide variety of cooking techniques. Sometimes these innovations were fleeting, leaving an odd jumble of dust covered leviathans – fondue pots, Schlemmertopfs, the Toast-Tite.
Then came the innovations that proved themselves worthy beyond trend and became actual workhorses of the kitchen. From early exploration of microwave cooking, to food processors and crock-pots, we watched her explore current magazines and specialty cookbooks to learn how to embrace these time-saving devices without the aid of the Internet.
My mother recognized my passion for cooking when I was very young. It was by her hand that I learned how to brown meat, stir cream gravy, make cookies, and design, yes, design, a beautiful garden salad. While many children would not be allowed to use sharp knives and hot stoves at such a young age, she took the time to teach me these important fundamentals.
The fundamentals… that is the real gift I received from my mother. She taught me the most important basics, culinary and spiritual, that carry me through to this very day:
1) The basics are important. Taste for salt, apply lipstick, talk to Jesus daily – pray for your children and their spouses, either current or future.
2) Do research. Find answers. Read cookbooks, look up articles on the internet, ask questions of God, read your Bible and explore commentary. Don’t be lazy about knowledge – always be learning.
3) Even if certain tasks, like feeding your family, doing the laundry, or at times even reading the Bible seem mundane and more ritual than inspirational, keep with it and work hard to enliven it. Passion can heat, temper, sometimes cool, but keep faithful. She taught us that God recognizes the loving sacrifice of our time and discipline, and turns it to joy.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. Through our Lord and Savior, my mother prepared the Lords gift of daily bread and served us generously, sacrificially, and always lovingly.