I will be making dinner in a few minutes. Today in the prayer group I meet with we were talking about space and place and prayer. How place can make a difference in both corporate and private prayer, as well as, talking about the spaces in our life where we pray. The kitchen has always been one of those spaces for me. I remember my Mom in the kitchen, cooking and humming hymns. I knew she was praying while she was preparing to feed us. Spiritual and physical food have always gone hand-in-hand for me. When I moved out and established my own household, I noticed I did the same thing as Mom. I would hum songs and pray as I cooked. It seemed such a natural time to talk to God–the Creator of all–while I was creating a meal.

When Tracy and I decided to get married, I was ecstatic about having someone to cook for. I joke that I’m Italian–we cook for those we love; it’s in the blood. But to a large extent that is true. For me nothing says love like a home-cooked meal. I love deciding what I’m going to make and how I’m going to combine different flavors for each meal. I love the whole process of cutting, searing, slicing, boiling, and cooking. There is something very healing in the whole process. Being able to feed another person is sublime. Honestly, my husband is one of the least finicky eaters on the planet. I could cook the same thing every night, and he would be fine with that (that’s what he did before we married). But I cannot cook that way, much less eat that way.

Feeding the soul and feeding the body should always be two sides of the same coin. We need the reminder that people do not live by bread alone. But we also need the reminder that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. That means we take care of ourselves and give our bodies what they need to be healthy. And if you’re Italian, nothing says “love your neighbor” like a good meal made with love and prayers.