Cooking has always been a favorite activity of mine. When I was married and raising a family of seven children, I began to passionately embrace and really develop my passion for cooking and baking as my normal routine, and my children, my husband and the ladies at the church bake sale encouraged me along that path. Baking is a precise science, and I felt like I was getting a second chance to conquer this topic, as I had failed miserably at science in school. I just loved my newfound success!
I remember as a family going to see a film called “Food Inc.” in theaters. As the nine of us sat in that otherwise empty theater watching this documentary and learning about food and the food industry, I was inspired to take my new passion of cooking and refine it in a healthy way. I started cooking clean, which meant I would cook and bake without artificial ingredients such as additives and preservatives and would avoid refined and processed foods. From that point on, our goal was to eat whole, natural foods, and I mostly still eat that way.
After making this shift, I still held to my philosophy that I had taught my children as a young mom: Life is short, eat dessert first. But I realized that a wiser variation would be, “Eat clean dessert first!” (Yes, I love organic chocolate!)
Out of my seven children, four of those children have experienced the loss of both biological parents to the same cancer. Their mom passed to melanoma when the youngest was one, and then that same child lost his father, my husband, to melanoma at age 16. These siblings walked through grief that no young person should have to experience. We all suffered a great loss, which affected us in different ways.
While my husband was still fighting cancer and I was working in my non-profit and as a counselor, cooking started to fall on the back-burner. What had been a joy and something that brought the family together, including children and grandchildren, was now a burden and no longer enjoyable as it had been before. Then, when these four children lost their father and my children continued to grow and leave our kitchen table to form their own families and traditions, my pursuit of cooking became extinguished. Hidden beneath the surface, I felt there was no family table any longer, so why cook?
There is a cool local eatery here in Old Town Orange called, Smoqued BBQ. I especially love the incredible maple bacon at this little spot. I eventually found that my excuses for not cooking were, in a way, wrapped up in bacon: tasty and attractive on the outside, but not much beneficial substance on the inside. As tasty as it was to consume those excuses, was I being lazy? After 30 years of cooking, you could argue that I was tired of it. But was I using my loss as an excuse not to cook?
One Mother’s Day long ago, one of my sons gave me some beautiful, clean, healthy cookbooks because he knew that cooking was important to me. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to pull out these books and truly appreciate them once again. As I have grown in my grief, let go of my past, and moved on from it’s grasp, I have started to rediscover this love for cooking. I have begun cooking every week, and it truly is fun and creative. Now, I am finally able to put those beautiful cookbooks back to proper use, which inspired me to write this post.
Don’t make excuses like I did, and don’t let it go.
In addition to providing a renewed spark of joy in my life, I’m finding that cooking helps relieve my budget as well. I make my lunches, which helps me save my nickels. There are many clever ways that you can take advantage of the monetary benefit of cooking. One unique idea is to invite family & friends over for a potluck for some variety and start enjoying the simpler things in life together!
Keep in mind,
- Decrease spending to give yourself a raise, instantly.
- Increase your income through small little jobs if you can.
- Grow your savings, as it helps your future.
- Invest wisely and automatically to help you save for your future, even in the ups and downs.
- When you decrease your spending, increase your income, grow your savings, and invest your assets, then give generously to what is important to you!