February 8, 2012

The Heart of My Home

The Heart of My Home

Mary in the Kitchen – CF129: King Cake and Mardi Gras in New Orleans

THE HUNKER-DOWN DAYS OF WINTER

Outside my kitchen window, the trees are bent as the wind howls across the fields. The ground was dusted with snow and the temperature finally dropped to winter levels.

We’re hunkered down today, as I record this, and I’m trying not to drink too much coffee. I’ve been brewing tea and thinking about how cold and wonderful it will be to venture out later.

One of the things I love to do on hunker-down days is burn candles in my kitchen. There’s something about the flame and the resulting fragrance that warms me.

I’ve said it before, but it seems more true on the hunker-down days of winter: my kitchen is the heart of my home. In my current house, the kitchen is adjacent to our family room, so the places where we spend most of our time are all connected.

THE KITCHEN: THE HEART OF MY HOME

As my children grow and as I grow in my vocation, I see, more and more, the importance of my kitchen. Recently, I felt like I needed to master the art of chocolate chip cookies.

Now, before you roll your eyes at how pathetic I am, let me just say that, thanks to the Catholic Foodie podcast and some very patient friends and family members, I have FINALLY started to appreciate that cooking and baking is as much about process as it is about ingredients.

I never thought I’d be a cookie-baking mom. But the look on my seven-year-old’s face when she came in and smelled the freshly-baked cookies was addictive. Maybe cookies aren’t the most nutritious after-school snack, but of all people, she appreciated that I went to some effort to do it just for her. And they were good! Between the smile and the taste, they might be my favorite snack of all!

When you look at life as a long series of humdrum days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel burdened. When meals are just another thing on your to-do list, it’s easy to feel discouraged and disheartened.

That must be why my kitchen has so many Marys in it. She’s by my sink, on the shelf, and on the wall. She’s my personal reminder that the role of my kitchen is IMPORTANT.

It’s not just about what we eat, but that’s important. It is, in part, about making the heart a happy, thriving place, a haven for those who need one and a refuge for those who seek it. It’s about integrating my faith and my love for my faith into everything, even my humdrum activities.

Here’s hoping that the hunker-down days of winter give you a moment or two to reflect on the importance of the heart of your home.

Sarah Reinhard is a published author and blogger who makes her online home at SnoringScholar.com.