Every November, I think of baking around St. Elizabeth of Hungary’s feast day. I like watching cooking shows and reading food magazines because I get new ideas for recipes to try.
Whether I’m baking a batch of cookies, a favorite family recipe or trying a new recipe, I like being in the kitchen. It’s time away from life’s to-do list to focus on something simple: making something yummy.
I have been interested in baking for as long as I can remember: When I was little, I loved making banana bread and cookies with my mom, sister and grandma.
But I really started becoming interested in cooking during college.
I cooked for a Newman Center retreat my senior year of college, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Cooking multiple chocolate-and-vanilla-swirl cheesecakes with other retreat team members, I was completely content. Sharing Christ’s love through word and food was a blessed time.
In grad school, I cooked and baked up a storm—and I haven’t slowed down since. My cookbooks are splattered with ingredients. That’s okay. It’s a good thing, like a well-worn Bible (I often underline and highlight mine).
Cooking reminds me of how God has continued to show me who I am. Actually, looking back, I was always a cook: I had an Easy-Bake Oven when I was little. Those were the days—yummy bite-sized treats that took minutes to make.
Christmas is approaching, and Christmas cookies are an essential in my kitchen. One year my sister and I baked a batch of sugar cookies before heading out to the Christmas Eve candlelight Mass. It was one of the best memories of Christmas I’ve ever had. The comfort of cooking up tasty traditions followed by the beauty of the church in soft candlelight was so special. The standard Christmas carols being sung before Mass—it was a little bit of heaven. Home and heart meet heaven: What could be better than that?
I no longer need a recipe to make a tasty dish my family and friends will enjoy. I have memorized time-honored family recipes, and I create my own. I think I enjoy cooking so much because it’s really part of “me.”
I enjoy entertaining and good conversation with treats like scones and cookies. I even have hosted a cookie party or two. It’s a great way to gather people together, which is the point of life: Gathering in a community of faith, family and friends are so important.
In the fast-paced, technology-driven world, I think people often forget the little things. Like family around the table. Like the goodness of a home-cooked meal. That’s what I hope I will do someday as a wife and mother. Until then, I thank God for food, faith, family and friends.