The kids are screaming, Tina needs a ride to Gymnastics in 15 minutes, Tommy needs to change his clothes before math tutoring and you still have to pick up the dry cleaning, pay the electricity bill and have something on the table when dad gets home; and if you’re like most moms today, you’ll get to handle all that after coming home from a 9 hour work day. You’re tired, over worked and wondering why all of your children’s names begin with the letter T. Yet you’re expected to prepare a loving meal from scratch?
Times like these, the KFC Family Bucket or Frozen Lasagna seem tempting, and why not? Why add any another thing to your massive to do list. Being a mom is hard enough. Cooking from scratch seems like such a hassle, why not transfer a fraction of your stress and responsibilities to the local Pizza delivery boy.
However, as the universe has taught us, time and time again, the easier path comes at a cost. Though the convenience of a drive through can save us a migraine, is our society over looking the hidden price we’re paying? Heart disease and childhood obesity have become an epidemic, the divorce rate is higher than it’s ever been, home cooked meals have become a novelty and it’s no secret that families just aren’t as close as they were 50 years ago. We are so caught up in the hustle of our lives, ruthlessly trying to finish the todo list that we just can’t live without. We’re so distracted that we forget to look into each others eyes and take a moment to appreciate one another’s company.
Remember that Sunday when the family took the day off? Maybe you Barbequed by the pool, went to the park, or just sat around the living room making silly jokes, telling old stories. Remember that happiness and connection you felt together? It’s so powerful that you have to remember that feeling to get through another hectic week.
What if there was a way to generate a little piece of that every day?
I remember growing up, my favorite day of the week was Wednesday. I’d look forward to it all week, impatiently waiting for the clock to strike 3:15, sounding the school bell so I could rush home. Mom worked a lot, and I didn’t get to see her as much as I wanted, but no matter what was going on in our lives, Wednesdays were always our day. Every week we would pick a different recipe in Grandma’s old cook book to try. Mom would lick the spatula and I would always get the whisk. At mom’s funeral, I got to tell all our family and friends how, over time, those Wednesdays built such a strong source of warmth and joy in my heart that to this day nothing can compare.
I started to think about my kids, our lives, and I wondered what they would say at my funeral? At the time my husband and I were working close to 50 hours a week, we hadn’t had a vacation in 4 years and I couldn’t even remember the last time we had a meal without facing the television. The thought of leaving my girls without a memory to cherish broke my heart. I realized we had to do something to change that.
I knew I wanted to start cooking again with my girls but it had been so long since I picked up a rubber spatula. The thought of trying to cook or bake something from scratch seemed like such a messy hassle, I didn’t know where to begin.
While cleaning up mom’s emails, I saw she had received a coupon for a Silicone Baking Mat by Baking Buddy. For those that don’t know what they are, Baking Mats are a non stick liner that you put over your Baking Sheets. I had seen them on the Food Network all the time, on all of my favorite Cooking Shows. This product had some of the most highly acclaimed reviews I’ve ever seen on an Amazon product. People said it inspired them to start cooking more, so I made the purchase. It arrived on time, and of course, I completely set it aside and forgot about it.
I figured it would be left to rot in the pantry with the endless supply of bakeware, Amazon purchases and general Kitchen Supplies that I never used. But something interesting happened. I received a call from Baking Buddy, I thought it was strange because I never received a call after ordering on Amazon. They asked me if I had used the Baking Mat yet and I gave them my excuse. Then they asked me what kind of foods me and my family enjoyed because they wanted to send me recipes to help me get started. They also said that since my family was so busy, they’d send me recipes that we could prepare in less than an hour.
So I thought to myself, one hour. As busy and crazy as our lives are, I can damn well invest one out of 24 hours to try and bring our family closer together.
After that we had a new rule: No TV at dinner time! I took the recipes Baking Buddy had sent me and started to try them out. Silicone Baking Mats are known for making baking easier for beginners like me. I began to pick up my favorite habit once again. After a while my girls were drawn to the kitchen so I started getting them involved, by cracking eggs, mixing and licking the beaters! As we cooked and baked together, we would talk about our day, make jokes, and I could see the same sparkle in my girls eyes that I had every Wednesday.
The Baking Buddy made the process of cooking so much more relaxing and easy. Everything was so simple and everything came out perfect every time. It was as if I was baking in an industrial oven. Nothing stuck either which meant kneading dough and making chocolate decorations was a breeze. It meant the world to knead Pizza dough with my daughters like mom and I once did. The Nonstick surface also had everything I would need to know as a baker (like measurements, metric conversions and a cookie recipe) printed on the surface, which was extremely convenient. I don’t have to stop in the middle of a recipe anymore, to look up how many tablespoons are in a cup! Thanks to the ease and fun we had, baking with our buddy, we were inspired as a family to become closer with one another.
You can see some stunning pictures of the Baking Buddy, in action, here on their Amazon listing.
Over time, we started to cook together more and more, until eventually, it became a regular thing. Honestly, it’s not as hard as we think it’s going to be, especially if you have a Non Stick Baking Mat which is basically my new best friend. The food we cook is healthier now that we’re buying real food while slowly cutting out the processed junk, we’ve saved a ton of money by buying ingredients instead of paying the middle man to put them together in a drive through window, and our family is closer than we’ve ever been before. The kids are so much happier and I feel like I know them so much better than I ever have.
Who knew the answer all along was sitting around the dinner table?
It seems that in our lives, home cooked meals and family dinners are a luxury. But if my experience has taught me anything, it’s one of the most important necessities every family needs. Taking the time to cook with your family is well worth the effort. As crazy as life seems, the bond your family shares is well worth the hassle of putting a meal together.