I love to cook. In fact, other than being outside, reading, and finding clever ways to procrastinate, it is my favorite thing to do. I love to go into the kitchen, turn on some music (Five Iron Frenzy, Brave Saint Saturn, or Jack Johnson, depending on the type of day I’ve had), and do my thing.
I am quite organized when it comes to the whole feeding my family issue. I make weekly menus, and my shopping list is an Excel wonderland that would make my Mama proud.
This week, though, I did something different. A few days ago I was sitting outside (of course) and thinking out loud (which happens much more than it probably should), and I said, “What should we eat for dinner?”
My 8 year old son was sitting next to me and immediately said, “Sweet potatoes. With marshmallows and brown sugar.”
“What else?” I asked.
“Corn and chicken nuggets.”
And it was settled. He and I walked to the store, bought all the things we needed, came home and spent the next hour in the kitchen together, cooking, talking, and tasting.
The meal was declared a success by everyone in the family.
The next day it was time for my 6 year old daughter to plan and help cook the meal. She chose macaroni and cheese but with fettuccini noodles, watermelon and strawberry salad, and split pea soup.
My 4 year old son was next. His choice: “Brown soup with no noodles or anything just soup, bread, carrots, and veggies.” Well, alright. Done.
And then the 11 year old had his say. Coke-ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and rolls were on the menu. He wanted to eat it buffet style, with unlimited trips for more. It makes me sleepy just thinking about it.
Aside from the ample amount of time with my kids, what was really fun about this was finding out why they chose their particular meals.
My 8 year old desperately wanted marshmallows but he knew I wouldn’t go for a dinner of just marshmallows, so he added them to the sweet potatoes. The rest of the food was just a bonus.
My daughter loves things to be fancy and so that is why she chose the fancy noodles, and she knew the watermelon and strawberry salad would be “beautiful and pink”. And the pea soup? That was purely for giggles.
The 11 year old’s reasoning was threefold: 1. It’s really good food. 2. Buffets rock. 3. It would mean a lot of time cooking in the kitchen together.
The strangest choice of all was the 4 year old’s. He could have whatever he wanted, and he chose bread, broth, carrots, and green beans. When I asked him why, his answer was simple: “It’s yummy.”
Something pretty cool came out of that plain meal, though.
As we sat down to eat, the kids all realized something at once. “Hey – it’s just like that meal we have when we think about Jesus. The bread is His body, the juice and soup are His blood.” They were all a bit more subdued than usual, and more than once they talked about Jesus dying for us.
With his simple supper, our 4 year old reminded us of 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
It was the best meal we’ve had in a long time.
I’m so glad my kids are learning to love to cook. Recently all four of them made a meal together while David and I just watched. It was so fun to see them working as a team, and “Kid Chef” nights will become a regular fixture in our home. And I love that they want to try new foods and that they appreciate the work that goes into preparing dinner.
But know what I love most of all? The fact that whenever they see a loaf of bread and a cup of juice, their minds go directly to our Lord.
That’s a pretty excellent thing to see.
See you tomorrow!