There's something special about the kitchen.
It's the reason that in a search for a new home one of the most important questions is "what's the kitchen look like?'
The desire to cook for our family is in our DNA, spanning generations from hunters & gathers to recipe bloggers. You'd be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't love a good home cooked meal.
While the desire to eat a family meal hasn't changed much from generation to generation the way we cook and who gets involved has. Less and less we hear of entire families pitching in to help out in the kitchen. At the same time we long for the connections as families that don’t seem to be as prevalent as most would like.
I love being a dad and when I found out that I was going to be one I wanted to do everything in my power to ensure that I create life long connections with my kids. Memories that'll be told long after I'm gone. Memories of joy, laughter and genuine intentionality of time we spent together.
Thankfully, we have a room in our home where connection is possible. Where nobody pays attention to the tv, devices or notifications from people who aren't nearly as important as the people in that room. We have this magical room where people can be creative and magic is possible, ending in a masterpiece of perfection or a hilarious tragic work of historic proportions that’ll lead to the best stories.
This room is the kitchen and my daughter and I have built a beautiful bond in it.
My daughter, Rae, and I love to make ice cream together. What started off as an individual activity has turned into a memory making hobby where we try to see what different flavors we can create.
One night as my wife, Allie, was out of town I decided to take to our Instagram stories and document our ice cream making journey. Rae was 18 months at the time. Over the course of an hour we made a couple messes but ultimately we made a delicious Thai Tea Ice Cream. The reaction from our friends and family was encouraging enough for me to want to continue these videos.
Over the next 6 months we made more stories, started an IGTV series, started a YouTube channel, all where we could teach other families how to make ice cream and create memories of their own! We shared recipes, tips and tricks and filmed every moment along the way.
One thing I couldn't help notice over the course of making these videos was Rae was actually picking up useful tips in terms of kitchen measurements, basic food properties, etc. Not only that but when me, Allie and Rae would cook dinner together Rae was becoming incredibly helpful (sometimes too much). Now it's rare that we can cook dinner without her wanting, even insisting to be involved in some capacity.
Through the hours and hours Rae and I were spending in the kitchen, working together to create something delicious, we created something far more desirable than the tastiest ice cream in the world. We created a connection, the one thing I desire more than anything with my family.
A few months ago both of my Grandparents passed, weeks after our second daughter, Sienna, was born. During our time of reflection on lives well lived I noticed that almost every story we told took place in or around the kitchen.
Why is that?
It’s not just us. Think about your family. Think about your home. Where do your favorite memories take place?
Sometimes it’s the back yard, maybe it’s in the living room, but the more we think about it the kitchen is where connection naturally happens. It’s why family recipes mean so much to us and why holidays with the family is just better with good home cooked food on the table. We just naturally connect in the kitchen, coming together for the common good of feeding the ones we love the most.
The world is becoming less connected and we can’t put the genie back in the bottle when it comes to technology. Our kids are going to grow up in a world where their attention is being sought by technology companies. At any given moment you may find each member of the family staring at their individual screens while sitting should to shoulder at the kitchen table, missing out on conversations about life, new love or hilarious stories from the day. It can be frustrating.
But in a world where all of our attention is being sought by everyone outside of those who really matter to us why don’t we get the measuring cups, pick out our favorite recipes and make something delicious with our kids? And while the lettuce is being chopped or the peppers are being washed, ask questions that speak to our souls, building connection and trust.
Our kids are already creating lego buildings, play-doh structures, using markers, crayons and colored pencils to make art. Kids were born to create! Bring them into the kitchen and let them create something special. Let them make a mess. Teach them how to clean up a mess. Create that connection with your kids that’ll be devoured tonight and remembered forever.
As cliche as it sounds, these are the days that'll be remembered tomorrow. To create lasting memories with our kids we need to be intentional and in a world that values digital connectivity over personal it can be tough, even for families, to find that balance between modern day living and a life before smart phones.
But everyone needs to eat and everyone wants to learn. Create intentional memories with the family by creating something special in the kitchen together.