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Joy in Cooking

Author: Meiring Huang

I was born in China right before World War II and accepted Christ when I was 14 years old. I came to the US for college and met my husband here. We have been married for 54 years.

When I was a child, my mother cooked for our family, and often we had guests and meetings in our home. I watched her cook but did not feel like cooking since I was not interested in eating as a child. Ironically, later in my life, I tried to remember how she prepared food.

After getting married, I tried to please my husband by cooking what he likes to eat. He enjoys eating and would tell me if the food tasted good or bad. When the food did not turn out well, I felt terrible and cried. But I didn’t stop learning. Gradually, my cooking improved. When we went to restaurants and ate some interesting dishes, I would come home and try to cook them. My husband encouraged me and complimented my cooking if the food was good.

Cooking is my way of showing love to those who come to my home and is my love language to others. I believe good food lifts up the weary spirit and refreshes people emotionally. Food is emotionally and psychologically beneficial, not only for physical satisfaction. After a hard day at work, good food enhances our joy in life. Food brings people together as we eat and during the fellowship. When First Evangelical Church started in 1965, our pastors cooked delicious Chinese food on Sundays and attracted many Chinese students to worship at our church. The church continues that tradition to this day.

I try to cook a balanced diet daily: meat and vegetables, fresh fruit, enough fibers, and the right amount of carbohydrates. I believe a good diet keeps a person healthy. I serve hot food when the weather is cold, soupy food when dehydrated, etc. Timing is an essential part of good cooking. When served at the right time, hot and fresh off the pot, food is more delectable.

Cooking a dish for someone is much easier if I know that person. I try to find out what a person likes to eat and who they are as much as possible. For example, Which province is he from? What type of food does he like? Does he have health issues? I try not to serve food with too much fat or carbs, or food that is too salty, sweet, or spicy.

One of the things I like about cooking is the planning process. Planning makes cooking more manageable, so I don't have to panic at the last minute. I often plan the menu for the week before buying groceries. Some dishes may need to be marinated or defrosted ahead of time. When everything comes together at mealtime – each dish coming out on time and looking good, I feel great joy, like when I finish a jigsaw puzzle.

My purpose in life is to love God and love others as myself. My joy is to know God, to live with Him closely daily, and to love others. It is God who gives me joy, strength, and love for others. It brings me great joy to see people enjoy eating and I hope to bless them with the food they love to eat.

"The joy of the Lord is my strength" (Nehemiah 8:10)

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