Life Lessons Happen in an Unlikely Place: the Kitchen

Someone recently asked me if I enjoy cooking, and I wasn’t sure how to answer the question.

It’s complicated.

I’ve never been particularly confident when it comes to my culinary skills. When our kids were young, I made a lot of Hamburger Helper and we made weekly outings to McDonald’s.

It was just easier for me to read the directions on a box than to strike out on my own. If I wasn’t in the mood to “cook”, we made a McDonald’s run.

Even times when I attempted to make a recipe from scratch, every ingredient had to be measured perfectly. If I didn’t have all the ingredients, I froze. I didn’t know how to replace them or what might work. I was too panicked to even try, so I didn’t.

I feared failure. I was afraid to take risks. I stayed in my lane by only sticking to what I knew I could do. I wasn’t being flexible. I didn’t show myself grace or patience.

What Changed?

I’m not sure when it happened, but suddenly my kids were teaching me things and at first I was embarrassed. These were concepts I should have taught them.

I started watching how they evolved in the kitchen as they became adults. They weren’t afraid to try different recipes and they put their own spin on them. If the kitchen was a disaster at the end, it could be easily cleaned. If they were missing ingredients, they looked up alternatives or just tried different ingredients to see what worked. Sometimes they succeeded and sometimes they failed.

When we moved our son to Chicago less than a year ago, I remember being in awe as I unpacked his kitchen. He has so many different spices, and he knows how to use them. He enjoys cooking for himself and for others. Our daughter recently made her son’s smash cake for his first birthday, completely from scratch (including the frosting).

I’m over here like, “Who are these kids?”

The differences? They took what they learned and applied it the next time they tried the recipe or they took what was successful and remembered it for the next time. They weren’t afraid to put themselves out there. They were fearless, they were flexible, and they gave themselves grace.

And That’s a Wrap.

Basically, I’ve learned more from my kids than just gaining confidence in the kitchen. I mean, that’s part of it, but in general I’ve learned to not self-sabotage. Previously, I was doing the equivalent of letting one setback cause me to spiral and give up.

“Giving up your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat.”

Mel Robbins

I’ve learned to try new things and know that even if I fail that I learn something in the process. However, when I don’t fail, I get something amazing like this:

Published by Christine Denker

I love all that life offers, I believe that mistakes make the best lessons, and I work to make the world a more positive place.

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