I did not grow up in a culture where food was celebrated. Food was something I did or did not eat and was the reason for me feeling frustrated while standing in front of a mirror in pink tights and a leotard. Most teenagers ate chips and lounged in sweats after their nightly sport or activity. My reality was much different and it felt like food had the ability to get in the way of my biggest dreams. There was a huge disconnect because I had never watched food grow. I had never seen food transformed. I had never handled a root from the ground and made it into something new with my very own hands, or even watched my family do this. Food was far from me, even when I was in the process of eating. In fact I hardly even ate dinner around a table, slowly and with the people I loved. Don’t worry, I had a great childhood. I was just always at the dance studio, eating my meals in the car or the studio lobby. I wanted this lifestyle and I had parents who supported it. I would not have wanted them to do anything different, because I would have been devastated reducing my five nights a week of dance to two or three. However, in the last few years I have felt the need to re prioritize my life, with the most basic things, like food, being held to a higher standard even when our culture does not embrace or encourage this. It is nothing new to say our culture thrives off of quick fixes and short cuts, quantity over quality and getting the biggest bang for our buck. We spend more money and time on dressing and fussing over the outside before nourishing the inside. In a world that just gets faster every day, I deeply crave to slow down and take the long route. My experiences in Italy greatly influenced this area of my life, making it the center, the foundation and teaching me that it is not too bold to schedule your life around food rather than fitting food into your life. I have been convicted and encouraged, realizing that God gave me this body to take care of and how I treat it is a symbol for how I feel about the One who created it.
Being a Mama and having my own family, I have the chance to create a new rhythm and a culture where food is celebrated. This has been one of the greatest desires for my family. Although Octave is only 13 months old, she is already learning about our family rhythms, especially when it comes to food. My hope is that she see’s me celebrate and enjoy food. If she see’s me prioritize my time by preparing food for our bodies over the internet, tv and running busy errands, she will understand the importance without me ever saying a word. I hope it is something that will not have to be taught because it will be second nature.
I also want Octave to have memories of a fragrant kitchen. For her to remember her childhood in scents, tastes and textures. I want her expectations to be high, and for her to crave real, whole, nutritious food. I want her to remember her childhood when she is in the kitchen, sustaining and giving life to her own family, if she desires to have one. It doesn’t matter whether she loves to eat or cook as much as I do, that is not the goal. I just want her to understand how foundational food is. For her to not stress over what goes in her body because she knows the food she eats is healing and lovely and too much fun to worry over. It took me too many years to not worry over food. To not make lists of what I should and should not eat. To not calorie count and feel guilty about things I ate that didn’t fit into my silly numbers. In my early twenties I learned that numbers are nothing, but ingredients are everything. That was just the beginning.
All of these words were inspired by the question I often get asked. What do I do all day? It doesn’t offend me one bit because I am curious what other people do all day too. It’s a good question. It just seems like being a stay at home mom is kind of counter cultural these days. It’s almost as if society is waiting for you to get a real job. Staying at home with Octave is a blessing. It is my joy and my life, not a job. In between playing with her, reading the same book five times over and jumping on our bed, (yes we do that!), I am in the kitchen. Just this week I realized that what I do all day can be put into a sentence. What I do all day is love on my babe and create a home where food is celebrated. I probably won’t say that when people ask, that just sounds kind of strange and pompous without the back story. But, it is true. That is what I do all day, and I am beyond grateful for the ability to be able to do so.