What is your gift? What are you passionate about?
I used to immediately go into panic mode when someone would ask me these questions, because I didn’t feel like I had answers to them. I had no idea what I was passionate about, and I definitely didn’t feel like I had any sort of “gift.”
Sure, there were things I enjoyed doing: hanging out with friends, spending time with my family and eating lots of Mexican food. But those aren’t really gifts.
However, I LOVED making food for people. Which is quite funny, because it’s not like I’ve always loved cooking. I didn’t cook AT ALL. My mom was a great cook and my grandmother was an amazingly gifted chef. But my culinary skills growing up mostly consisted of baking brownies from a box.
It wasn’t until after I got married that I discovered I liked to bake things. Thank God for my husband who did all the cooking, because if it were up to me we would’ve eaten cereal every night.
I would find dessert recipes that interested me and pick a couple to try out. I actually found baking to be very therapeutic and relaxing. Then, I’d find more challenging and ambitious things to try, like homemade bread. That led to several bake-cations: basically a vacation where all you do is bake. That probably wouldn’t be much of a vacation for most people, but I loved it! And I learned how to make everything from croissants to apple pie.
One day my husband came to me and said he wanted to go back to school and get his doctorate in counseling. And as wonderful as this was, it meant someone had to take over cooking for our family. That someone was me. Yikes! But I was quickly reminded of what my mom always told me when I was younger, “if you can read, you can cook.” And she was right.
Fortunately, I had quite the collection of cookbooks, because even though I didn’t cook, I sure did like collecting cookbooks. So even though I was somewhat forced to start cooking, it wasn’t long before it became something I really was passionate about. Taking the time to find just the right recipe, shop for the best ingredients and putting a tremendous amount of effort into making a meal filled with love for my family was a gift from my heart to their bellies.
And then I made my first meal for friends that just welcomed a new baby. Suddenly, I knew this was my gift. The gift of food. It seems like something so small, to make a meal for someone, but it’s rare that people make meals from scratch anymore. I wanted my friends to experience a home cooked meal made with lots of love. As cheesy as that sounds, I truly believe you can tell when something is made with love.
Recently, some friends were going through a really difficult time fighting off colds and viruses between the mom and their two young children. I knew I wanted to make my friend homemade chicken soup. This isn’t something you can just whip up. It’s an all day affair. But it was totally worth it. It’s always worth it to me.
After I delivered it, she sent me a text saying she was literally crying tears of joy as she was eating the soup, because it tasted like something her mom would make and it was exactly what she needed. And that made me cry.
So thankful I found my gift.
“Don’t ever let anyone convince you that cooking a meal for your kids-or anyone else for that matter-is just one more thing to check off the to do list. Every time you feed someone, you’re offering love, security, comfort, therapy, and memories shrouded in happiness and warmth. It is no small thing.” -Jenny Rosenstrach