By Lisa-Jane Johnson
Like most couples, when we were thinking about starting a family we had wonderful day dreams and imaginings of what life would be like with our perfect offspring. My idyllic fantasies involved skipping through cornfields in a floaty dress, chasing after 2 beautiful happy children, with the resulting snapshots capturing the bokeh from the late afternoon sun. I knew there’d be nappies and sleepless nights and teenage dramas too of course, but what I didn’t anticipate however, was how important food would be to our little family and how much we would bond over cooking and creating new recipes as well as growing our own vegetables.
We tried to involve the children in cooking from an early age – first sat on the kitchen counter with a wooden spoon and big grin (them not me), and then progressing on to some very messy baking, which obviously involved more licking and dipping of fingers than actual cake making (that actually might have been me). But as each year passed, their passion and skills have increased and so has their determination to make cooking their life.
Our son, in his early teens, went shopping for a chef’s knife for his 13th birthday. He consumes recipe books the way I used to devour teen magazines and his bedroom floor is littered with foodie notes and cookery books from his favourite chefs and cuisines (as well as the normal detritus of a teenage boy of course – dirty rugby kit, half completed homework, discarded food wrappers, and a gaming headset or 3.) He has visions of owning a string of Michelin starred restaurants as well as a fish shack right by the sea, and a farm to grow his own produce, and a line of his own cooking sauces, and, whatever else a teenage boy with the world at his feet believes he can achieve.
Our pre-teen daughter on the other hand is all about cakes and artistic desserts. She’s determined to make her café (just the one) as inclusive as she can and spends her weekends trying out vegan and gluten free recipes so that nobody has to miss out on something delicious. Purely altruistically, we support her efforts by nobly judging her creations because she won’t actually eat much of what she bakes. She’s possibly on the autistic spectrum so food has to be just so before she will even try it, which just means there is more for us. We all have our cross to bear.
Our daughter is very measured and prefers the more exact science of desserts whereas our son prefers to chuck it in and see how it goes. Although they are very different in their personalities and their approach to cooking, their passion comes from the same desire to spread joy and love through food. They both love watching people’s faces light up when they serve their delicious wares, whether that be a steaming bowl of home made tortellini to their grandma when she visits, or a box of gluten free peanut butter cookies delivered to a neighbour. Our home is never happier than when we are discussing food or all cooking together in the kitchen. Spending time growing, creating and eating together has been an unexpected joy of family life and I hope they both continue to spread joy and love through their cooking in the future. Now if we could just teach them to wash up with the same passion we’d be sorted.
Guest writer: Lisa-Jane Johnson had long term health issues which forced her to undergo some lifestyle changes, taking time to appreciate slower living. She’s embracing all that nature has to offer to help heal her mind and body, using what she grows and being mindful in the process. She’s re-acquainting herself with her writing as a way of reaching within for better mental health, but also to reach out to others on the path to simplicity and wellbeing.
How to find her: Check her out on Instagram at Serotoninandsage
Soul Food September:
Throughout September, Soulhub is sharing personal stories from Guest Writers including Nutritionalist (Author of Gut Gastronomy, Broth & Amazing Edible Seeds) Vicki Edgson, Soul Food Live on Tuesdays later in the month with Carey Davies-Munro, Q&A’s with nutritional specialists Sue Camp & Melinda McDougall, podcasts with Nicola Moore, and education about our relationship with food.
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