Farm to Table

I am not a good cook. But we have great meals!

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

(Luke 12:24, ESV)

I know how to cook a lot of things. I can make homemade pasta and biscuits from scratch. I can make a roux and a cream sauce and I can fry chicken. I can make a meal out of whatever’s on-hand, anytime. 

Today, a rabbit prematurely-harvested some of our pea vines, nibbling them off at the base and leaving the rest of the vine behind. Joe asked if we could use the leaves for something instead of wasting them. So I chopped them up and added them to a red-sauce that I had on the shelf. If we had a tomato crop from last year, I would have added them to a red-sauce that I made from scratch. God provides in different ways at different times.

Our red sauce will be delicious, and we will give special thanks to God for giving us the pea shoots that make it especially good. My kids might say, as they sometimes do, “Mom, you’re a great cook.” And if they do, I will answer as I always answer, “I didn’t do anything! All I did was put together what God gave me and apply heat. He makes it delicious.” (And if it’s a salad, I don’t even have to apply heat! 🤣)

Someone once asked me where I like to go for recipes. And I told them that I don’t use recipes. If I’m making something new, I might do a little research on how it’s made, but I don’t use recipes. I have one Teacher in the kitchen, the Holy Spirit. He guides me in how much to use of the different ingredients that He wants me to use to best honor God for what He has given. As in all things, He knows better than anyone! 

snow peas

Because that’s what I learned, years ago, when I was seeking the Lord’s help to cook for my family. I soon learned that it wasn’t about my meal-planning or my recipe-gathering or my skill-learning. It was about my entire submission to the Lord. It was about my efforts to honor Him by faithfully using everything that He provided. It was about me asking Him what I should buy at the store, asking Him what I should cook every day at every meal, asking Him how I could use what He had given to best honor Him. It was about my giving Him praise, out loud and in front of my family, as I marveled over all the good things He gives and the different ways of preparing them that He teaches us. I didn’t have to be a good cook. I just had to faithfully serve a great God.

kidney beans

And what’s especially beautiful about approaching meals in entire submission to the Lord is the way you watch His little daily-life provision miracles unfold before your eyes. He knows more about your resources than you do. He knows more about your needs than you do. And as you watch Him work, you get to be brought to tears by His gentle care over you! For example, this year, we are having an unusually hot summer. And Joe has some high-labor work to do, clearing land to begin a lean-to in the back of our house. It’s hot, sweaty, muscle work. The rest of us can help a bit, and especially my oldest son can help more, but the bulk of this work rests on Joe, our power-house.

radishes

As he worked, he began to get overly fatigued, even light-headed. So he read about it, and realized he was suffering some heat stress symptoms and needed more electrolytes. Anything you read about this will tell you to just buy an electrolyte drink at the store. But we always look around at what God has provided, first.

Turns out chokecherries, which grow wild on our land and which I still have on-hand from last year’s harvest, are a great source of electrolytes. Turns out sorrel, which grows wild on our land and which I still have on-hand from last year’s harvest, is a great source of electrolytes. Turns out adding honey, which we have from our bees last year, is a great source of electrolytes. Add a little sea salt that we harvest right from our local ocean water and a sprinkle of baking soda which I always have on-hand for baking cookies, and you’ve got a drink with a lot of natural electrolyte-boost! It’s not all distilled and concentrated and measured and colored like the stuff from the store. But somehow I suspect that all of these ingredients that the Lord provided before we ever knew we would need them are going to do a great job supporting us through some hot summer work – and it tastes awesome!

But the truth is, not everyone would like my cooking. In fact, there are probably some few people out there who have had my cooking and specifically don’t like my cooking. But everyone in our family likes my cooking for one reason – because we all specifically, intentionally, purposefully appreciate what God has given us, and that always makes it taste good.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. 

(Mark 6:41, NIV)

Our food isn’t good because I’m a good cook. Our food is good because God is a good provider! I only try to be faithful in putting together what He has provided, and give Him thanks for the results!

wild blueberries

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:19, KJV)

by Sydney Michalski

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