936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
A lot goes in to making food look pretty enough for the internet, and the truth is, behind each pristine plate of tantalizing food, there is a whole lot of mess to be found! If you were to step into my whole food kitchen on any given afternoon, you may be a bit surprised by what you find.
By getting a broader glance beyond what the camera captures, you’d notice that there’s a lot more to cooking whole foods than a pretty arrangement of ingredients.
Behind every perfect plate of food there is a whole lot of imperfection.
You may find me bent over a sparkling square of counter space with a camera hovering over delicately arranged chocolate squares. And the chances are that just beyond the reach of the camera lens, there are piles of dirty dishes. And I am still in my pajamas, which are inside out, thrown on in haste to answer the cry of a hungry baby at 5am.
The other day my kitchen transformed into a truffle shop. While the camera did its job to capture the rich, shiny, luscious dark chocolate melting on my stove top, it also did its other job of hiding the surrounding mess. What the camera catches represents only a tiny morsel of what goes on in my kitchen.
If you had been in my kitchen, and you were to step back– to zoom out just a little bit from the enticing bowl of sugary goodness– you would have found the butter dish left open. Just beyond the bowl of confection perfection you would see a dirty serving spoon from last night’s dinner, a pan of brownies– only edges remaining left unwanted and uncovered– and a spatula caked in dried bits of who-can-remember-what.
Step into my kitchen and you’re likely to find me immersed in tasks of stirring chocolate and measuring cream, while taking photo after photo of each step of the process. And the chances are that while one hand is balancing the tasks of cooking and photography, my other hand is balancing a baby upon my hip. It’s a glamorous job. No really, it is, and I wouldn’t trade it not even for truffles delivered straight to my doorstep.
You see–my kitchen hands are the joy of my kitchen. Step in and I’ll introduce you to them. Of course, they’re imperfect too, and sometimes less than helpful; so the truth is, you might find them snacking on chocolate (yes, at 9am), to keep them occupied long enough for me to finish melting gooey ganache.
The chocolate does well to distract my sous chef Ezekiel; his mouth covered in the brown, ooey-gooey, sweet chocolatey goodness. I look down to see his baby brother playing conte….well sort of–contentedly on the floor. I notice that his mouth is also rimmed in brown…is that…chocolate? Did his brother dare actually share a chunk of his precious, cherished dark chocolate with him?!
I dive for the baby, chancing my own chocolate to burn on the stove top. I jam my finger in little’s mouth and fish out not a chunk of chocolate, but a clod of dirt. Maybe I should sweep the floor today.
This distraction took all of 13 seconds, which left my back turned just long enough for something to end up spilled all over the counter top.
When the ganache is perfect, my kitchen is anything but. By the time we are finished, it looks as though a tornado might have come through. I find it astounding that a recipe with only a few ingredients can leave behind such a chaotic scene.
I take the double boiler off the burner and set the ganache aside to cool.
I lick the whisk clean of chocolate, but that is the extent of my cleaning for now. I pour myself another cup of coffee and then I leave the kitchen looking like a natural disaster area. We have more messes to make elsewhere. Outside.
The truth is that cooking whole foods is messy. Rinsing, peeling, hulling, slicing, chopping, mincing, sautéing, roasting, steaming; there is no denying that cooking with whole, fresh ingredients dirties more dishes than, say, opening up a box of hamburger helper.
But I would rather keep our bodies clean than our kitchen clean any day, and that I can do by feeding us whole foods.
Behind every elegant plate of chocolate truffles there is a trail of crumbs, a pile of dirty dishes, little mouths rimmed in chocolate, and time well spent teaching my kitchen hands lessons in what real food is all about.
On this particular afternoon they learned that chocolate is sometimes allowed straight after breakfast. And that we don’t have to cry over spilled milk (or cream), we can just wipe it up with a paper towel. And that chocolate is sweeter than clods of dirt. And that evening they learned that making treats is always best when we can share them with friends. I think a little mess is worth the opportunity to teach my kitchen hands lessons such as these.
Tomorrow maybe we’ll learn how to sweep the floor and rinse the dishes. But today there is a mud pit out in the yard beckoning us to come, and who could say no to that?
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!