How to cook

24 August 2016
Most of the work I do here at home is food related with cooking, preserving, baking and growing taking a good slice of my ordinary days. It doesn't feel like a chore to me because I enjoy it and I love the feeling I get when I cook nutritious family meals and when I offer home-baked goodies to visitors. I've read that many people don't cook now and the proliferation of cafes and takeaway food places in every small town and city is testament to that. It's seems very odd to me that adults who strive to possess every thing of value they can have don't see value in one of life's most important skills. And I'm saddened that boys and girls don't learn to cook either at home or at school.

When I go to my cupboard and choose a jar of jam, sauce, cordial or pickles, or place a home made meal on the table, I know what's in it. I know our food stockpile will see us through most family or community emergencies and that even if the worse were to happen, I could still provide food for my family and not go out to the shops to do it. It is the quiet knowledge of what we get from them that keep my patterns of work going year after year.

The days here follow patterns that regularly repeat themselves. Beds are slept in and made; when bread isn't baked, a quick circle of scones fills in; eggs, fruit and vegetables make their way from the garden to the kitchen to be eaten fresh or stored for later. Tea is made, meals cooked, menus planned. My food budget isn't stretched because these meals cost much less than their commercial, pre-prepared cousins. Systems are linked in a simple home and those systems support each other.

Fresh eggs from the backyard are turned into creamy custards that provide the nutrition we need to remain healthy. And the food cooked here is a reminder of our family heritage and culture and a constant comfort because of its familiarity. I can't imagine being cut off from that by not being able to cook.

At this point of my life, instead of working for a living, I work at providing a healthy framework in which to live. Every day a choice is made to keep to the rhythm of this domestic life; every day is the same and different. Working to provide a clean and organised home with good food on the table every day makes sense to me. The small, never-ending tasks that make up my days may look basic and mundane but the true significance of this type of work is evident in what it produces. And that, my friends, is a never-ending stream of good food and the easy self-confidence that comes from being able to produce it. I wish everyone knew how to cook but all we can do is to make sure the children in our own homes are taught to cook as they grow up. If we do that we're giving them comfort and pleasure, an ability to express culture, kindness and generosity, a way to celebrate important events and the potential to provide nourishment for themselves, family and friends that will last a life time. 

Do the children in your family know how to cook?