By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
We learn a lot from our mothers, or motherly figures in our lives. The natural life lessons taught to us by moms from an early age plays a very important role in our development, our growth, and our well-being. From very young age, we look up to our mothers for guidance in just-about everything. We watch and learn, and much of what we absorb stays with us forever.
When I was a kid, my mom would frequently call me and my siblings into the kitchen — the beating heart of our home. She’d ask us to help her prepare dishes, and assign us a small job, perhaps to mix a bowl, or (carefully) whisk ingredients. As a result, we were exposed to food in its purest form from a very young age. We’d touch, feel and smell ingredients prior to them being used in a dish for that evening’s dinner. We would try certain vegetables for the first time and treat it like a monumental challenge we had been given, pulling faces and always claiming “it’s disgusting!” — before eating more. We’d learn the names of what was in our kitchen, and begin to develop opinions, likes and dislikes towards certain food items.
Looking back, it makes me realise how important these subtle, innocent moments in our kitchen were, in shaping my relationship with food. With my mum’s guidance, I was unknowingly forming my relationship with various foods for the first time in my life, and developing an understanding of the ingredients I was consuming each breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In the modern world, we’re less ‘hands on’ than ever before. It’s why I remain appreciative to my mother for ensuring that I did have ‘hands on’ time with food during my childhood. As kitchens have hot stoves, boiling water and sharp knives, it is pretty understandable why parents don’t want their children nearby. But studies suggest that (as with my experience) involving children in meal preparation is an important first step in getting them to try new foods, or better understand what they’re eating.
Researchers at Columbia University studied how cooking with a child affects the child’s eating habits. Researchers found that children who had been involved in cooking their food were more likely to eat those.
On this Mothers Day 2019, let us take a moment to appreciate the life lessons we’re taught by our mothers — many of which stay with us throughout our daily lives.
I personally believe in the power of our own hands, and that when you put energy into making your own food, the food receives healing energy that no one can give it except you. I’m ‘hands on’ with food today, just like I was in those moments with my mom in the kitchen.
* The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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