The Ministry of a Meal: The Kitchen

If I had to pick a "favorite" chore, I would have to say it was cooking. (Can you tell?) Now, lest you form some unrealistic picture of me, I have to say there are days I don't like to cook. I mean really don't want to do it. There have been days when I have begged my husband to pick up a pizza from Costco or take us out for dinner.

But on the whole, I would much rather cook than clean, do laundry or wash dishes. So when my husband told me that part of the remodeling plan was to re-do the kitchen, I was so excited. That made all the hassle of moving everything out of our existing kitchen worth it. Our old kitchen was very small and boxed in. It was hard for even three of us to be in the kitchen together, much less all of us or any guests.

When I think of my kitchen, I know there are several distinct purposes for it: 1) meal preparation, 2) a place for family connection through cooking, and 3) a place for guests to hang out while I am finishing making dinner. So, I know that we will want some comfy bar stools on the outer edge of the peninsula so people can hang out.

As to organizing the kitchen, I think Emilie Barnes' advice is best: "Things that work together go together." This cooking and baking zone is what I am picturing. It will be nice to be able to be able to do that in one place instead of having to go all over the kitchen. Other areas would be food packaging (containers/wrap), serving (utensils, bowls), or beverages (mugs, stirrers, K-cups, mixes, appliances).

Source: Ask Anna

I want my kitchen to be user-friendly for others besides myself as well, so part of my work will also be figuring out a way to organize my kitchen, and particularly my pantry in such a way that things will be easy to find. I have to admit that I tend to start out with an organization system in my pantry, and then when I get a new load of groceries, just stuff things wherever there's space. So much for organization. Maybe if I label each area, that will help me to put things in the right place.

Source: I Heart Organizing

Right now, I have created a pantry list that fits our family, with supplies that we (not what others) typically use. If I can keep those items on hand, then that will help me to prepare a meal without running to the store multiple times in a week. If I can organize my pantry, freezer and refrigerator, in a similar way, I hope to be able to easily see what I'm low on and keep an eye out for sales.

One of the goals I have is to equip each of my children to be able to prepare at least five full meals on their own and to comfortably read and understand how to prepare most recipes that they encounter. That way, they will be able to have at least a week's worth of meals, plus the know-how to prepare different ones as well. So I want my kitchen to be kid-friendly as well. My goal is to try to find and label uniform storage containers that serve a decorative function as well as a useful one. That way, I hope my kids will be able to move around the kitchen with confidence when they create their culinary masterpieces.

One other area I need to organize is my recipe collection. I am the kind of gal who sees all kinds of cool recipes to try, prints them out, and then forgets all about them. I'll need to weed these out or figure out a way to test and incorporate new dishes into our family menu. So far, I have been using binders to keep these recipes in. That works for now, but I hope to be able to make them more uniform as well.

And lastly, I envision a home where we have people over often, whether they are my kids' friends or ours. I know we're not going to have a huge dining area, at least not given the square footage of our house. But I dream of my kitchen being a place where all kinds of fellowship and conversation can happen. The kitchen, with its scents, colors and activity usually draws people there eventually. My prayer is that the Lord will use it to be a place of ministry--to the body, the mind and the soul.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of food and the way that it draws us together in relationship. I pray that You will grace my kitchen so that the meals that come out of it will strengthen not only our bodies but our relationships and our spirits as well. May this kitchen be a place of fellowship, ministry and service that glorifies You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Interested in seeing how other ladies organize their homes? Looking for some inspiration? This "tour" has given me tons of ideas...I hope it helps you too!

Because the kitchen and pantry are two different areas, I have two different lists! (updated 4/12/12)