Cooking in a New Kitchen

We may leave our homes and kitchens as many of our ancestors have, but the connection that a recipe can provide, especially those inherited from our Mothers (parents or significant family members), can have a tremendous power for bridging the gap of time and place; providing comfort. I have fashioned a ritual for cooking in a new kitchen after a move and with it two Brachot for the occasion. I hope that not only will the ritual help bridge a gap, providing comfort and healing, but help to sanctify one small corner of a family’s world, the kitchen, elevating it and us to its rightful importance in family life.

“Blessed is the One who guides me, as I cook in my new kitchen, while guided by my Mother’s Love.”

Preparation
You might choose to include the following items:

  • a picture of yourself (and family) in the old kitchen
  • a recipe card from a beloved family member (mother, parent, or other), in their own handwriting, if possible, and any pans or utensils used by the family member in the past.
  • ingredients for preparing the recipe.

The gathering of family in the kitchen can be part of the ritual.

Procedure
Start by sharing a brief note that can be prepared ahead of time, expressing the loss of the old kitchen and summary of the circumstances surrounding the move. The note should also express your hopes for your family to build new memories in the new kitchen and home and how the preparation of food is an extension of nourishing those you love in the same manner your ancestors did before you.

An example of the note could be, “As you know, our move to (name of city) from (name of old city) was sudden due to my company’s decision to close my division. We loved our leisurely Sunday morning breakfasts in our (name of old city) kitchen; we would read the paper and laugh at the comics. This is where we made cookies and so many holiday treats. When our daughter (name of child) would help us bake, (s)he would watch the cookies through the window in the oven door, and tell us when they were ready. We really miss those times in our old home. Now that we are here in (name of new city) we would like to make new memories and fill this kitchen with those same aromas and laughter too.”

Food Preparation
Prepare the food. You might choose to take photos during the cooking, with different family members or friends helping during each step.

First Blessing
After food is prepared, recite the first blessing (can be read responsively).

Blessed one, source of all blessings, bless this food which we have prepared.
May it nourish our bodies and our spirits.
We have moved to a place, much like our ancestors did, where not much is familiar.
Our sorrow and uncertainty now are as great as theirs was then.
They were sustained by their Emunah, their faith, in your unending love and wisdom;
And by the bonds they built with family and friends.
May we be comforted in the sweet memories that these aromas, tastes and bonds stir.
Rich and full; familiar, yet as different as this new place.
May the opportunities and blessings ahead be as flavorful and sweet as this food,
Food that we have prepared together.

Second Blessing
Before serving food, recite the second blessing.

Blessed one, source of all blessings, help us savor these aromas, tastes and bonds;
Those stirred with family and friends in the days, months and years ahead;
As we choose the ingredients of our new home and community,
We ask that they be as flavorful and sweet as those we left behind.
May this place nourish and sustain us;
Just as this food nourishes the body and its memories sustain our souls.
Bless our new home and help us build bonds that are as sweet and strong as those left behind.
Amen

Creating Memories
Take a group photo of everyone present for the occasion. Take all the elements and install in a shadow box or frame to display in the kitchen to reinforce the transition and the beauty of what cooking in the kitchen represents.

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