K is for Kids and Kitchen: #atoozchallenge Day 11

Life from Sustenance

There is nothing more non-negotiable than death

There are other things non-negotiable in life

Life comes with needs that death absolves

Life requires food, water, air, and shelter

Shelter in the embrace of mother’s arms

Shelter in the embrace of the kitchen

Kitchen the place where I tend to needs

Kitchen the place where I nourish our souls

Souls grieving and hungry for sustenance

Souls healing as bodies are fed

Fed food that is created with love

Fed by my efforts to learn something new

New skills practiced as I prepare each dish

New repertoire growing as I learn

Learn to accept the challenges

Learn to consider everyone’s tastes

Tastes and nutrition blending together

Tastes changing as teens grow

Grow into acceptance of what we’ve lost

Grow into new ways of doing and being

Being more helpful than they once were

Being patient with my mistakes

Mistakes are part of the trial and error

Mistakes can be a path to wisdom

Wisdom gained with each meal served

Wisdom seasoned with reality

Reality that I’m their only parent

Reality that it’s now all up to me

Me the mother who married a chef

Me the one who hadn’t cooked

Cooked only begrudgingly

Cooked things no one wanted to try

Try now to overcome the aversion

Try to create culinary excitement

Excitement at every success

Excitement at my new competence

Competence breeds confidence

Competence becomes independence

Independence is a kind of balm

Independence is another kind of food

Food for bodies and food for souls

Food that sustains me as I become

Become the mistress of the kitchen

Become comfortable in this new life

Life goes on even after his death

Life goes on and needs sustenance

Sustenance for our bodies and souls

Sustenance and delight nourished



It’s been three months today since Jim died, and I became the sole provider for my children Cooking wasn’t something I did; Jim was a talented professional chef even when we met, and, though I had enjoyed cooking when I was single, I knew when I was outclassed.
From early ages, the kids knew it too. As an eight-year-old, Jeremiah once joked, “Mom, if I want you to make me scrambled eggs, I’ll ask you for an omelette.”

So, while Jim was alive, he did the bulk of the shopping and cooking.

Obviously, that’s changed.

I bought an Instant Pot shortly after his diagnosis, it’s been my salvation. I don’t enjoy “babysitting” food while it cooks, and I’m not especially good at it. I tend to get busy with writing or cleaning or reading or being with the kids or breathing….and things go wrong. With the Instant Pot, things take far less time, and, because it’s programmable, I can do other things while it cooks, like raking the yard, taking a shower, or writing blog posts.

I’ve used it for things I might not have made otherwise: steel cut oatmeal, sweet potato and butternut squash soup, whole roast chickens – and even bone broth!

It’s given me a new sense of competence, and, because it is so versatile, I’m buying ingredients rather than the prepackaged meal options I might otherwise have resorted to. That’s better for the budget, and our health…and every new dish (even the disappointingly oversteamed asparagus) builds my knowledge base and my certainty that I can indeed feed us.

That’s it for me…later on, I’ll be making soup from my own stock, and roasting yet another chicken.  Yum!

Come on back tomorrow, where we’ll be laughing our way to death…and beyond.

Get the whole kit and caboodle of K posts!


  1. So you like your Instant Pot, too? I think Mary’s tried all the same recipes you have (or at least talk about here). She likes it because she, like you, hates babysitting our food. She can put something on before we go out for the afternoon and know it’ll shut itself off and won’t come home to find that whatever she was cooking has reduced to nothing but sludge at the bottom.

    • Yes, I like it a lot – except that with only one liner, it’s often waiting to be cleaned. A second, and maybe third, liner are on my wish list, because teens can be hungry people, and my son is now a burly 6’3″.

      Both kids have now used it, which was part of my intent. Jim was a chef; I didn’t bother with cooking much when he was alive and well. He was the one who helped the kids get comfortable in the kitchen – but I do want them both to be able to fend for themselves before they leave home, even if it’s just a few very basic dishes.

      Sludge just isn’t very appetizing. I love that I can put a whole chicken in there and not worry about it until I come back to it.

  2. {{hugs}} I love the idea of homemade soup stock! Been meaning to get a crockpot myself for ages now. It must be lovely to have the deep flavour of food that’s been simmering for hours!

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