*This is the sixth post in a series about “What I want my kids to know before they leave the nest.”

Cooking is becoming a lost art. Overbooked schedules and the appeal of fast food has lured us into microwave meals – or worse yet – the drive-thru. Did you know that 20% of meals are now consumed in cars?

A recent study reveals our nations declining affinity for the kitchen:

  • 10% love to cook
  • 45% are lukewarm about it
  • 45% hate it

I don’t love to cook. And I don’t hate to cook. I guess that puts me in the middle. When I say I don’t love to cook, I mean I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen concocting complex recipes with obscure ingredients only to discover we don’t like it – or it’s too complicated to orchestrate on a regular basis.

I’m not a gourmet cook. However, I do love to make simple, whole food meals for my family because I see it not just as a nicety, but as absolutely essential for good health.

Have I always been a cook?

Nope. Not even close. I lived the first twenty years of my life in a small town where my parents owned a local café. You know the sort – a counter with stools, a few booths and tables, a grill, milkshakes made by hand, and daily specials.

Growing up in a restaurant, you’d think I’d have learned how to cook. Oh, I could make you a malt, grill a hamburger, or deep fry some perfectly golden French fries. But that was the extent of my culinary training. Truth be told, my mom hated to cook. And with a restaurant at her disposal it was just as easy to have my dad bring home dinner.

When I got married, it was sink or swim when it came to the kitchen. As starving college kids, my husband and I tracked every dime we spent down the penny. Eating out was a rare occasion and Hamburger Helper was a staple.

After college, I spent my twenties eating the Standard American Diet. Too busy climbing the corporate ladder, we worked too much…and ate out too much.

With kids now on the scene, I began making dietary changes which lead us into vegetarianism. My thirties were about learning to cook simple, healthy meals and getting my kids hooked on real food.

In my forties, I deepened my understanding of nutrition, made a shift from vegan to omnivore, and learned to accommodate food sensitivities.

Now, in my fifties, cooking is second nature. Making real food is part of the culture of our home. It’s just what we do.

The common thread running through all of these seasons is a growing appreciation for the simple foods God created to nourish us for optimal health.

Why do I cook?

  • I want to be well; I want my family to be well.
  • I love eating real food; I can’t stand processed food.
  • I value the family dinner table.
  • I want my kids (and future grandkids) to cook.

How do I cook?

I like to refer to what I do in the kitchen as Cooking for Real Life meaning simple meals that:

1. work in the context of real life

2. nourish us so we can experience real life

Here’s what I tell my kids:

  • Establish a few simple recipes as a foundation
  • Make extra – leftovers are the best
  • Enjoy the process!

And here’s what I’ll tell you:

  •  It’s never too late (or early) to learn
  •  It’s easier than you think
  •  And yes, your kids can learn to love whole foods too
  •  You’ll never regret it – I can guarantee that!

Do you like to cook? Why or why not? Leave a comment and let me know!

More details on our culinary journey: Part 1 and Part 2

Do you want to learn more about cooking for real life? Come join my free Facebook group called Natural Health & Wellness FUNdamentals for Christian Women!