How Cooking Is Saving Me

My friend Shelly Miller wrote a post called “How Saturdays Are Saving Me.” It’s also about cooking.

The whir of the Kitchen Aid, the ting of the timer, chocolate melting in the oven, the aroma of chicken simmering in the Crockpot — it all seems like a holy union, as if the act of cooking is saving me somehow.

Shelly’s life has been in flux for a while now, as she and her husband prepare for a move to London. There have been delays, twists. They should have been there by now. Instead, they are doing the best they can, one day at a time, with no income.

Four months of living in exile leads me back to what is base to humanity. In cooking, I’m looking for some small crumb of hope in the silent mystery that currently encompasses life.

Shelly says that cooking anchors her. And I so get that. When the storm in my life came, I didn’t recognize it for the monster it was. One day I looked up and realized I hadn’t cooked in two years.

So finally, I was ready. And I was scared. Where should I start? Would it make any difference? Most important, If I make it, will they come?

I turned to another friend (who happens to be a friend of Shelly’s) — Kristin Schell. I wish I remembered which of her recipes I tried first, but I can’t. All I remember is it worked. I made it, people gathered around the table and ate it, and it was good.

That was about a year and a half ago when I started cooking again. The storm didn’t stop—not by any means—but like Shelly, I found that cooking settled me.

Every time I follow one of Kristin’s recipes, it’s a bit of a mystery–if I do what she says to do, will it work out? Will it nourish my soul? Last night my husband came home to the smells of Roasted Chicken with Apples & Shallots. A couple of days earlier, I’d made Potluck Fiesta Bean Salad for a Bible study dinner. I’m planning to make her Baked Artichoke Nibbles for Thanksgiving.

I’m not cooking every day, but when I do, it feels like something miraculous.

That is why I’m drawn to my kitchen to create and cannot explain it. And why I cook with my shoes off.

Amen, Shelly.


  1. Shelly’s post was inspiring, huh? I think cooking (or baking–my fave) is another way of being creative; I think that’s why it feeds our soul.
    I made a Turkey Pot Pie last night and it felt so satisfying.
    May Jesus continue to give you what you need through the storm.

  2. My cooking ended with the advent of grad school – so did all other hobbies. It’s been 6 months since I finished and I went grocery shopping for real last weekend (staples, not just prepared food) and made my first loaf of bread in a very long time. I understand the fear involved – I struggled to start again – the “what if’s” were almost deafening.

    I am glad you started coking again.

  3. I bought my KitchenAid two years ago and used it once. I bought a bread maker last spring and haven’t used it at all. I used to love to create in the kitchen, make bread from scratch and pound out my frustrations. But with a husband that’s never home for dinner during the week, and a grand girl who eats about three things and won’t try anything new, it’s like… what’s the use? And then there’s the cleanup. Sigh…

    I’ve been learning how to cook again through Abby’s recovery. I’m going to make Kristin’s artichoke nibbles.

  4. Megan, I’m so touched by this. You are a bright light shining some hope into my morning. I’m so glad that post inspired you, that you are cooking again, that we, though thousands of miles apart are sharing a season of hardship and leaning on the prayers of the saints to lead us toward peace. Love you. xoxo

  5. Kitchen therapy is good for the soul. I love your line, “I’m not cooking every day, but when I do, it feels like something miraculous.” YES! Me, too. So grateful for you, Shelly and our connected kitchens and hearts.

  6. Love this. Cooking as therapy? As miracle? As what saves you right now. Love it.