The Kitchen is Where Life Happens: Brunch With An Inspiring Finnish Family
The door bell rings, your hosting a dinner party for a small group of friends, after taking their jackets and exchanging greetings everyone congregates toward the kitchen, drink in hand cheerfully engaged in conversation. Have you ever noticed this phenomenon? The kitchen is a magnate. At Thanksgiving, nine times out of ten, the kitchen is where you will find all the action, but not only regards to food preparation. The kitchen is a place of gathering, of discussion and gossip, of nutrition, filling the body and soul with a feeling of community, belonging, of living. Okay, it is not always the case in Europe where mammoth-size kitchens often found in the US don’t exist in large numbers, but it can be said that the act of gathering around the table, having prepared a home cooked meal is truly an exquisite experience and one we may not share often enough.
Fast paced, hectic lives, determined to check every box off the daily to-do lists, detour us from sitting down for a family meal at 6 pm every night of the week like past generations. It is unfortunate, but it is the truth. We run to the closest drive through or pack a ham and cheese sandwich on the fly, not really thinking about the importance of the foodstuffs we consume, how we prepare our meals, and the actual act of sitting still for 30 minutes or an hour for insightful conversation, maybe a hilarious chuckle about the state of the US presidential race today, or just catching up on what’s new in one another’s lives.
I love the kitchen, and spend the majority of time there. I call it my home office because for lack of an extra room outside our guest room, my desk is not but footsteps always from the stove.
There are those out there both in the US and abroad, that are immensely aware of the foods they put in their bodies, and take time and care when it comes to their diet, often talking about and sharing their food choices and insights with others, but there are a significant number that lag behind, fueling their bodies with processed meals, unaware of the effect a poor diet has on their overall state of health and well-being.
I love what Jamie Oliver is doing through his popular program Food Revolution, a massive initiative aiming to curb the obesity problem and bring healthy living to the forefront in American households. I want to highlight a family that embodies just that, but on a smaller scale. What I believe is pretty awe-inspiring, an aunt and uncle who make it a point to nourish their nieces’ passion in the kitchen and encouraging them to integrate lifestyle changes into their lives. Teaching them healthy cooking lessons at home, as well as when they travel. Experimenting with new and exotic ingredients, motivating them to be creative and to have fun. Not to mention they just got into yoga! Yeah, I adore this family!
It was such a pleasure meeting Kati, Kim and their two nieces from Finland in July. They came to Barcelona to enjoy their summer holidays, joining me in my home for a brunch workshop not but shortly after they arrived. Telling me they often travel with their nieces, they completely relish in the opportunities they have to share the world with them. I was enamored with the energy this family possessed. Listening to their stories about life and the culture back in Finland, I came to find out they their favorite meal to prepare at home was sushi. They also described more mouthwatering, traditional dishes from reindeer stew popular in Lapland, in the north of Finland to their own variation of cinnamon rolls called Korvapuusti, inviting me to join them one day in their own kitchen where I would learn new tips, tricks, and hearty recipes, which I am totally all about. Travel based around learning the culture of place through the kitchen, in my mind, is even better than the most serene and tranquil yoga retreat, though it is a fare match up. Both fulfill my inherent need for learning to no end.
Now, that is what I call planting a seed and instilling priceless values in their youthful minds! This should be an initiative in every family, setting the groundwork and promoting healthy, fruitful lives rather than being reactionary fighting the epidemic of obesity our world faces.