Growing up in a family that had either a quarter of an acre of garden to an acre, that never made their meals from "the box" I never really understood the concept of "let's hurry out the door and grab something to eat on the way."
In fact, it wasn't until 2 years ago, while visiting a relative that I first made a cake from a box. I felt more uncomfortable with following the directions on the box then following the recipe of the white cake that I had at home. (And that's not talking about my weary feelings about eating the cake after reading all of the ingredients on the box. . .)
The reason why, was because I had learned to appreciate beautiful, gourmet food from scratch, that takes effort to make. Cooking in the kitchen is where some of my best memories have been made growing up and where I have learned to especially love. My first memories are of baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with my cousin, making spaghetti noodles and pretzels with my grandmother and of helping my mother milk some of our dairy goats in Florida and use the milk to make cheese and pudding.
In Proverbs 31, scripture tells us that the proverbs 31 woman:
"gets up while it is still dark; and provides food for her family and portions for her maidens."About 3 years ago I was studying this passage of scripture and meditating on it and one of the things that dawned on me was the time that she got up to make food for her family. She got up while it was still dark. Think about it for a moment. She could have had her servants make the food. She could have also spent minimal time making the food, and just put fruit and wine and things prepared by the servants before to give to her family for breakfast. But because she cared about her family, she got up early, and spent time and effort on making breakfast for her family. If I could guess, I would say that she probably enjoyed making gourmet food for her family that took effort to make.
So how should we respond to this as Christians?
I think that the Proverbs 31 woman really comes down to this bottom line. Are you thinking of your family in everything that you do?
We always hear the phrase, "put God first in your life" and that's a good statement, but when you say, oh I'm thinking about the extra time I'll have in the day for more "important things" when I spend less time in the kitchen and it's really, to read that novel/theology book that's been sitting on your shelf for about a month, is that really putting God first in your life? I'm not saying that it's always wrong to read a book instead of spending every moment with your family for we all need a break from time to time, but we should all strive to be more like Jesus in every action and every word that we submit to the world every moment of every day.
I once heard a quote from a chef on Avonlea that I thought was right on. He said:
"Beautiful food is like beautiful music, they both feed the soul."
Many of my most special memories come from the days that my whole family all had time to spend several hours in the kitchen and make an amazingly delicious and beautiful meal, paired with beautiful music, and beautiful flowers from our flower garden. These moments fed my soul with joy and laughter.
You can bless your family with these moments as well, if you only take out the time.