Comfortable with Cooking

So much of my life here centers around food – the procuring of it, the preparing of it, the cleaning up after it. It’s practically a full-time job. It never stops, and usually I’m a hot and sweaty mess by supper time.

But over the years I have found joy in cooking. I’m no Master Chef, but when my kids gush over a particular dish, or when I step back from feeding a group of 15, I feel a sense of satisfaction in a job well done.

I started out so clueless. I needed a cookbook for the simplest of recipes. Yogurt, bread, granola, pie crust, sauces, each was a milestone I reached as I became more comfortable in the kitchen. Before long, I was one of the ones that new wives would approach for recipes, or yogurt starters, or meal ideas.

Natalie at an MAF cooking class in 2001, wondering, "What am I supposed to do with this?!"

Natalie at an MAF cooking class in 2001, wondering, “What am I supposed to do with this?!”

Both of my grandmothers were wonderful cooks. I often think of them when I’m in my kitchen, especially when I reach for Nanny’s measuring spoons, or I pour cornbread batter into Mamaw’s cast iron skillet. They made cooking seem so effortless, and they seemed to enjoy nothing better than seeing a granddaughter eat up their pot roast dinners and cherry pies.

My four kids take turns during the week helping me with supper. I’m trying to impart not only cooking skills, but also that enjoyment that comes from making yummy food for others to enjoy.

Hosting Christmas dinner in Papua, 2014.

Hosting Christmas dinner in Papua, 2014.

In college a professor of mine, a former missionary to Africa, once said, “There’s something special and bonding about putting your feet under the table with others and sharing a meal together.” I have thought of those words many times as we have hosted many guests through our years in Indonesia. The meals may not have been stellar, or Instagram-worthy, but I have enjoyed showing love to others through hospitality.

1 Comment

  • Karen says:

    I hear you! Learning to cope with ingredient scarcity and finding creative substitutes, using the old fashioned way instead of the shortcuts of modern life, but still making familiar favorites for family, especially when children come home from boarding school – a way of life in the “bush” now! Food has become a focal point, not only for our family, but for mission life too when we gather for prayer & fellowship. Not that we NEED it, but it feels like a ministry to prepare something special for a co-worker.

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