home cooking - home fires burning week 3


We've moved into the kitchen portion of our housekeeping series.  The topic today is home cooking...This is where I should have some scrumptious meal photos to share with you but this is definitely an area I struggle in.  I really hope to step it up now that I have more time to devote to shopping and preparing for meals but so far, not much has changed.  Now baking is another story but as far as meal preparation and planning, I need all the help I can get.

Cheryl Mendelson makes a wonderful point in her Home Comforts book, "For your home to feel solid, meaningful, dignified, and warm, you must have the means and skills to produce good nutritious food, to  dream up pleasant menus and to set the table and serve the food in an attractive manner that is familiar and comfortable to guests."

I really believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home and the dinner table is it's lifeline.  I am always inspired by families that hold to the ritual of gathering for the evening meal.  For us, at least, this only holds true on Sundays and it is definitely something that I want to change.

I love growing fruits, vegetables and herbs and the act of chopping and dicing.  I really enjoy being in the kitchen but somehow have not managed to find a menu planning routine that works for me.  I know some of you are experts in this area and can attest to the value of gathering around the table to break bread as a family.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Are you weekly menu planners?  Is dinner served at the table a must in your home? 

Mendelson also says, "Cooking at home links your past and future and solidifies your sense of identity and place.  When a home gives up its hearth, which in the modern world is its kitchen, it gives up its focus." 

I know home cooking is a legacy to future generations and in today's hurried, fast food world it is one we are in danger of losing.  What a shame that would be.  I can't imagine my childhood without seeing my siblings and parents around the dinner table.  Even when times were lean and the food was not grand, the act of sitting down together provided a sense of security and a place of belonging.

I hate to think of my grandchildren growing up without that same feeling...

xo, Patty


  1. I love to cook but I must admit to 'flying by the seat of my pants', most of the time. I should do a much better job in the menu planning area. - We also had a proper dinner at the table when I was growing up and it is the same at our home still.

    Love your fruit bowl...looks vintage. xo

  2. I still work outside the home, so meal planning and preparing is a challenge, but somehow I get it done. Having our supper meal at the table together has been a constant since my girls were small and remains today (they are 22 and 17 now!)We have a huge garden so summer meals are the best to plan and prepare. We love meatless meals in the summer. My girls have already called dibs on certain bowls that I would have on the table with veges in them. I this this is an important part of a home! Love how you are bringing these things back to our attention!

  3. The kitchen is the heart of our home.
    When our kids were all home, we would split into teams and have a 'cook-off' on Sundays.
    One team would pick what meal to make and assemble all the ingredients, recipes, prep. and make. The other team would do the same thing, only with desert and salad. It was a blast!
    Seems like there was always a tie when it came to scoring time though~~LOL.
    The best part was being in the kitchen, and laughing and being with each other.

    Smiles :)

  4. Because one of my daughters couldn't eat food colouring or preservatives, I cooked a meal every night (even when working full time). Because my parents insisted on all of us at the table for supper, I did the same with my family. I think it is vital to family closeness. Now that I am single, it's hard to get enthused about making my meals. ~ Maureen

  5. Patty I just love this post, so warm & sooooo family. We do sit around the family table every evening for a home cooked dinner, we give thanks to God for all He has done & get to chat & eat together, I can't imagine it any other way, but I guess there'll come a time when the girls have families of their own & tables of their own, i just hope it will be still as special for them.
    Lots of love Karen x

  6. I cook frequently and enjoy it. I do not care much for fast food meals or to pay for restaurant meals. I think a well stocked pantry helps a lot and we buy from local farmers where possible.

  7. I need to be better at planning. It can easy to let things slide a bit when it is just for one.

  8. Growing up, we always ate our dinner meal together as a family. And with our children, we always had dinner at 6:00, and everyone was at the table. As they got older and into sports, that became more difficult, but we always do it when we are home together. However, my husband and I have gotten into the habit of eating our meal when it is just the two of us, in the family room, with the telly on.
    ; ) Kris

  9. Hello! New follower here and I am enjoying keeping up with you. I am the wife of a night shifter and an empty nest survivor. :D Our one meal together happens early to middle afternoon and we call it lunch. It's hard to learn to cook for only 2. I find myself cooking less and less, and also using more prepared foods in spite of the fact that I used to cook and bake from scratch. I miss the family around the table. Just us 2.

  10. Patty,
    Yes! I cook at home! menu ~planning...Hm~m~m...not so much! However, I keep a well stocked pantry, cupboards and freezerwith essentials that I can whip up a week's worth of food on a moment's notice. I loved baking when our sons were home...now it is more ofa chore than an enjoyment! We have EVERY meal around the table!!!..and each meal begins with GRACE! I know life is changing quickly in today's society. I'm grateful to my MoMa nd my grandparents that kept family dinner rituals and holiday gatherings as an importance of family ties! I am truly enjoying this series!!!

  11. I never liked "cooking on demand" so therefore I prepared a weekly/monthly menu when I was raising my children. We always sat down together for meals and I gardened and raised a lot of fresh produce and canned and froze things and they all helped with it. We rarely went out to eat as I knew what they were getting at home was better for them. I worked full-time also in a very demanding career so being prepared made it easier on all of us.
    I live alone now and I'm retired and still do the same just not as much food although it's been hard to scale down after a family of 6. Now that I'm home all the time one thing that has really helped me is prepping in the morning before I get involved with any of my "projects". That way if I got involved with something and was tired I literally just had to throw dinner together. I even found some little dishes at the thrift store for holding items like chopped onion and green pepper. I even measure out spices and everything. It's like being on one of those cooking shows! Like any task, if you break it up into smaller parts it's not such a big deal. I don't have to cook every day now and usually just once or twice a week not counting baking.


© Lemons and Larkspur. Design by FCD.