Friday, November 18, 2011.  Cooking has never been a very exciting activity to me.  I suspect that this is mainly because I live alone.  It can be difficult to cook for one, invariably you end up wasting food or eating the same thing for 5 days.  Earlier this year I had the opportunity to cook for a family who had a newborn baby in the NICU.  Since I was cooking for people I cared about and who were experiencing a time of high anxiety and stress, I prayed for them through each step of the meal preparation process.  At the grocery store I prayed that the food I selected would bring them strength and comfort.  As I chose snacks to include for the 2 other children, I prayed that God would help these young boys understand why their parents had to give so much of their time and attention to their new brother so that they would not feel lost or neglected.  When I got home and began combining ingredients, I prayed for the day that the entire family would be together under one roof.  THAT cooking experience was enjoyably, exciting and spiritual.

I'm not sure why it took me 42 years to learn that cooking can be a spiritual practice.  Each week when I go to the grocery store I now pray for those who grew and harvested the food, those who work in the factories and bakeries who make my cereal, bread and other products, those who stock the shelves, clean the store and check out my purchases.  At home while preparing my meals, I pray that God will help me make healthy eating choices more often than not so that I will be healthy enough to be a meaningful member of my community; that the food I have chosen to prepare this day will strengthen me to lead the life that God is calling me to lead.

Since I've started thinking about my food in this way, I find that I'm making better choices, I don't dread the time I spend creating my meals, I spend more time in conscious communication with God and my life is generally fuller.