This week, my mother celebrates her 90th birthday! There are so many things that I could say about the way that she has shaped, molded and influenced me as her daughter. But of all her activities associated with motherhood, there is one thing that she did for me and for our family that stands out more than anything else. She cooked. I mean, she really cooked – as opposed to ordering take-out or adding water and oil to food in a box or reheating prepared meals. My mother cooked well and she cooked often!
In the simple act of daily cooking for our family, my mother shared her values and demonstrated important attributes of character.
To value home cooking is to value good health!
First and foremost, by cooking meals at home, she shared with me the value of investing time and resources in activities that promote good health. During the time when home cooking was beginning to decline, my mom continued to cook from scratch using real foods in the interest of good health.
These days, the tide has begun to turn back to seeing the value of home cooking. In fact, a good body of research points to the numerous health benefits of consuming real foods that have been cooked at home.
Recent research (2014) done by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied the eating habits of 9000 participants for 30 days and found that:
A more recent research (2017) using data from the Fenland Study (2005 – 2015) showed that those eating home cooked meals more than five times a week (compared to less than three times a week):
I have no doubt that my mother’s dedication to daily home cooking is greatly responsible for the good health enjoyed by me and other members of my family.
In addition to teaching me to value good health, my mother also displayed and taught me many other character attributes by her cooking at home.
Faithfulness: My mother cooked a meal at home for us every day whether it was raining or the sun was shining and whether our home environment was calm or chaotic. In her service to our family through cooking, she displayed consistency and dependability.
Courage: When I was growing up, fast food, processed foods and junk foods were becoming very popular. Some of my friends regularly had Twinkies, Ding Dongs, soda, bologna sandwiches with fake cheese slices on white bread. Others ate at McDonalds or had TV dinners often. My mom never bought into that popularity, much to my youthful disappointment. She displayed the courage to stand against the popularity of convenience foods and stuck to cooking healthy meals using real foods. In fact, when I first got to college, I was shocked at how different my eating habits were compare to my peers.
Organization & Efficiency: Through the tasks of cooking, my mother demonstrated good management of her resources and time. She always shopped with a grocery list. She cooked meals ahead and put them in the freezer and she always knew exactly what was in that freezer at any given point in time. She did batch cooking and lived by the philosophy that “If you have to chop one onion, you might as well chop two and use the extra for another meal.”
Thriftiness: My mother believed that food should never be wasted. She always had creative ways of repurposing leftovers. I remember the year that my grandfather had a bumper crop of zucchini in his garden and we ate zucchini in what seemed like 16,000 different ways, thanks to my mother’s creativity and thriftiness.
Respect: My mother had a set of rules that taught me to respect the people who were expending the effort to feed me. The first rule was, “Eat what you are served.” My mother cooked healthy meals and was not a slave to my food preferences. The second rule was, “After dinner has been cleaned up, the kitchen is closed.” There was a proper time and place to eat and the kitchen was not open 24/7 to accommodate my food whims.
Love: Cooking was and continues to be my mother’s love language. As her child, I enjoyed her warm pudding with pureed fruit on a cold day. Her grandkids enjoyed her blue blueberry oatmeal when they came to visit. She expresses her love through cooking for her family. We have all benefitted not only from her healthy meals, but also from her very practical expressions of love through cooking.
Thanks Mom, for all the wonderful benefits that our family received from your dedication to daily home cooking!
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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