Recently my roommate and I donned aprons and put on figurative chef hats in our first-ever cooking class.
We nervously sipped water and picked at slices of warm bread as an animated woman with cropped jet-black hair and pink lipstick whirled around a stainless steel table in front of us transforming carrots and rosemary into a unique dip and later, a cream cheese-based spread.
“Looking for more of a Latin feel? Throw in some cumin!” she said as a food processor roared in front of her. “Hungry for a more comforting fall flavor? Add in a handful of roasted nuts! Make it your own.”
In the next hour, Chef Kate showed the class how to enhance each dish with a new spice or ingredient to transform the food into an entirely new creation, ready to enjoy on a second or even third night. As we broke off into teams to take on our own cooking challenges (sweet potato onion soup for us), I marveled at her ability to see the potential in the simplest ingredients.
I may not be appearing on “Top Chef” anytime soon, but this intimate cooking class renewed my belief that even the most basic ingredients—and people—can be transformed into something greater than we ever imagined.
The Lenten season is a time of preparation. Throughout the year, we fall, make mistakes and cause pain. But during Lent, we are called to repent and refocus our eyes on the little things and ready our hearts for the transforming power of Easter. We each do this differently through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, but our goal is the same.
“In the fast-paced, technology-driven world, I think people often forget the little things. Like family around the table. Like the goodness of a home-cooked meal. That’s what I hope I will do someday as a wife and mother. Until then, I thank God for food, faith, family and friends.”
This year, my quiet preparation may be partially spent in the kitchen, rhythmically slicing, cooking and preparing for the resurrection that I know is to come. Chef Kate would be proud.