Family Matters: Who needs a smoke alarm?
The first home we ever owned was situated at the mouth of a cozy little cul-de-sac, which gave every neighbor on the block an unobstructed view of our house and yard. Clearly then, my husband was not thinking of my reputation when he slapped the lid on my flaming hash-browns one Saturday morning and rushed out to the front curb to extinguish them; and this, only days after we moved in!
First impressions are not always right, but in this instance, our new neighbors were given a fairly accurate indicator of my culinary skills (or current lack thereof). In the five years we lived there, it was not at all uncommon for them to look out of their own windows and see smoke pouring out of mine. My husband often teased me, “Who needs a dinner bell, when you’ve got a fire alarm?”
It wasn’t that I was incapable of cooking a decent meal. It was just that I was (and am) so easily distracted. I’d barely get dinner in the oven before I was completely absorbed in some other project. I wouldn’t give the meal a second thought until it had burnt to a crisp and its charred, smoldering remains triggered the smoke detector.
At least now I’ve learned to use a kitchen timer. And I’ve come to realize that delicious, nutritious meals don’t just happen. They require attention to detail and diligent work.
There is an art to good cooking. A chef must mix the ingredients in the precise order and with proper proportions to achieve the desired taste and texture. So also, there is a balance to life in general.
If you are anything like me, there are countless things vying for your attention these days. Some of them — like folding laundry or watching the news — can be done on autopilot without causing harm. But other things — like building a marriage and raising kids – may crash and burn if you don’t tend them carefully.
Strong marriages, happy children, and healthy bodies don’t just happen. They require attention, commitment, and work. Tend to them pre-emptively. If you wait until you smell the smoke, it may be too late to salvage the things that matter most.
Jennifer Flanders considers herself a life-long student, both in relationships and (especially) in the kitchen. She enjoys sharing what she’s learned at https://www.flandersfamily.info.