Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cooking is Better Together!

My good friend and fellow writer, Laura Gomez, is a guest poster today on my blog. I really enjoyed tossing writing ideas back and forth with her when our children were in the same class in elementary, and again recently. I hope we hear more from her again soon!

The Christmas tree lights were on, the sound of carols drifted through the house, and I was so happy just to be at home and spending time with my boys for the holidays.  Life really doesn’t get much better than that!  

 I was in the kitchen starting on our dinner to be eaten Christmas Eve, Colombian style. The boys - my husband, Mauricio, and two sons, Eric and David - were hanging out in the living room. I love cooking, especially on the holidays, so I was enjoying my work in the kitchen, but I realized I also longed to spend the time WITH my boys.

So, I went and told them I was lonely, and asked them whether they might help me make the dinner. It sounds easy, but those types of requests never seem to come out of my mouth right, and I was afraid I would ruin the holiday atmosphere.

They came, perhaps somewhat begrudgingly, to the kitchen to help, but as we continued preparing the meal together they began to enjoy themselves.

That was years ago. Now it has become a tradition. They all help with our big holiday meals. And since they like to eat the same food each holiday--they love their traditions--they have traditional jobs now with meals.

Mauricio and Eric are in charge of "french cutting" the green beans. We can't buy them frozen in a bag here in Colombia, so my guys lovingly slice a huge pile of green beans the old fashioned way! I always tell them they don't have to slice the whole pile if they don't want to, only as much as they want to eat, but they love our holiday French cut green beans with slivered almonds toasted in butter so they insist on taking the time and effort to slice them all!

Some years I can’t find slivered almonds either, so we sliver them ourselves!
David is in charge of inventing a centerpiece, and keeping the Christmas carols going.  Mauricio is the master turkey carver. 
There is another job they actually fight over! They take turns putting the hot potatoes through the potato ricer. It’s a bit more manly of a job, since it takes some strength to squeeze the potatoes through the ricer, especially since they always fill the basket full. It brings back memories of playdough to see potato come oozing out the holes and into a bowl where butter and milk are waiting to make them into scrumptious mashed potatoes.
Cooking together has made the holidays more fun for me.  And I think it has also increased the rest of the family’s enjoyment of the day.

I believe that children should help out around the house, including duties involved with the meals.  But this story isn’t about children helping around the house.

I also believe that boys should learn to cook, and mine will often get in the kitchen and bake brownies or even cook a meal for the family. But this story isn't about teaching boys to cook.

This story is really about how I learned how much fun it is to prepare the meal together on the holidays. Sharon is always reminding us how valuable mealtimes are for the family. And on the holidays, when the meal and its foods are a big event, and everyone is at home, cooking together can also be a great time for interacting as a family, involving everyone, girls and boys, cooks and non-cooks. Then when everyone sits down to eat, not only does the food taste delicious, but we have the satisfaction of having made such a wonderful feast together.

Laura and her family live in Bogota, Colombia, where they work with the Navigators.  Her biggest thrill comes from interacting over God’s Word with other women.  The meals at her table are typically a true mish-mash of California Cuisine and Colombian fare, with a scattering of international dishes just to keep everyone on their toes! Her latest moderately successful experiment was with homemade potstickers or gyoza.

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  1. I agree. Cooking together is wonderful family time! It's also important for boys to learn to cook. Thanks for the reminder that I need to step it up a notch in that department.

  2. My adult son is a wonderful cook! In fact, he cooks more than my daughter-in-law! Even though I tried to encourage my daughter to cook, she never enjoyed it, to this day. I thnk soemtimes ther eis a cooking gene ;) Nice to visit you form Grandma's Briefs

  3. Hola! Why is it so hard for us to ask for help sometimes? Glad you shared your tale, because it's true on so many levels. Me alegro que pudidstes compartir algo tan bello con tu familia- y con nosotras. Wish you many years of fun family kitchen time. Desde Grandma's Briefs, BB2U.



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