In the Kitchen


“As I see it, the kitchen is a symbiosis of 3 elements: the territory, the season and the personality of the chef.” – Ana Roš

I’ve always felt most at home in the kitchen and despite my lack of formal training, my knack and passion for cooking have been evident from a young age. As a child I would often spend my afternoons mixing up mysterious concoctions from the garden and pantry, hoping to create something delightful. But as I grew up, I lost sight of the beauty of real food and the importance of good ingredients for many years.

Fortunately my fascination with food and nutrition started to blossom again in my first year of college. It was in a writing 101 class where we read Fast Food Nation that I first got a glimpse into the truth about the horrible state of our food system. And that eye opening look at our food and how it effects our bodies quickly renewed my passion in returning to traditional farming and cooking methods. I was determined to cultivate more nourishing recipes for friends and family and change my health and theirs in the process.

So as I’ve worked towards simplifying and seeking a life centered around God over the past several years, my desire for growing and cooking food has grown exponentially. My fascination with the quality of ingredients I use and what each of them mean for our bodies and the environment has been a big piece of that. In the past several years, God has opened my eyes in regards to food. I’ve really come to understand how He created us to tend to and use the land and the ingredients He has given us. And why it’s important to turn away from the mindless munching of the standard American diet and instead get back to feeding our bodies in ways that honor Him.

The Heart of the Kitchen

But this push towards traditional cooking isn’t just about nutrition. When I peel back the layers of my excitement around food, the biggest joy comes from its ability to bring people together in fellowship. Hospitality has always been something rooted deep inside me and my ability to cook has gone hand in hand with my desire to help people feel at home and cared for. During most any family get together, the kitchen is usually where you will find me. And I’ve really seen the fruit of how important this is over the past several years.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and when we put the effort and love into our work in the kitchen, it spreads to all who enter. Food matters, ingredients matter, and people matter. And God has given us all the resources and ability we need to make these things happen and glorify Him in the process. Unfortunately though our society has lost our way in the kitchen as we’ve slipped downward into a culture of convenience. We’ve lost our desire for making things with our hands, cooking food the way our ancestors cooked it, and eating together as a family and community, really coming together over a meal.

But when we start to return to the way He made us to be, it becomes simpler day by day. It may not come naturally at first, but when we ask God, He does provide for our needs in ways beyond all that we could ask for or imagine. Even if what He provides for us to use doesn’t look like what we wanted at first glance. When we surrender to His will instead of stubbornly pushing our own, everything begins to fall into place. 

From My Table to Yours

When it comes to my cooking style, it’s quite simple: real ingredients, cooked from scratch, sourced as seasonally and locally as possible, preferably from my own garden. I’m also an avid believer in using everything to the fullest extent. I’m moving quickly towards a low-waste lifestyle and the easiest place to live this way is in the kitchen where scraps from one meal can become the base for another.

I’m also the kind of person who wants to know what’s in my food and where it comes from. And I think we should all be people like that because what we eat really, truly matters. God created it all and there is so much beauty in each individual item worth exploring and giving thanks for instead of taking our food for granted like so many do. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and I truly love the food and flavors of this region, especially pairing them with more traditional methods of preparation.

One thing I have been asked so many times is when am I going to finally write a cookbook… And although the process seems daunting, I’m happy to say I have been slowing working towards that end. I am not in any rush to complete it because I know that if I put in the real care and time needed to make it truly something special, it will be well worth the wait for my kids and family, and all whom I share it with in the future. So as I move forward slowly with this project, your prayers would be greatly appreciated! 

Until next time…

Jo

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