By Hand: Home Traditions and Writing

Cooking demands attention, patience, and above all, a respect for the gifts of the earth. It is a form of worship, a way of giving thanks.

– Judith B. Jones


The delicious aroma from the simmering stew wafts towards me. I get a spoon and have a taste. “ Well… that’s perfect!’, and I smile to myself as the spoon clinks down..


Footsteps coming down the stairs seem to follow the rhythm of my stirring. Then my son peeks through the door — “What are you cooking?” he asks, his eyes alight with interest.


When I answered him, I could almost hear the smacking sounds in his mind.


“I’m excited for dinner!” he gushes, turning around to go back to his studying.


It was all worth it — the careful preparation, the constant heat from the stove, all the time and effort needed to create such a dish. For me, a heartwarming meal made is one of the most mindful ways of expressing my love.


Culinary Celebrations

National Cooking Day was born from the desire to honor the tradition of cooking at home. Since its inception in 2016 by, September 25 has been earmarked to celebrate the joys of home cooking and partaking of a meal prepared by hand.


Cooking is one of the most mundane yet meaningful activities we can engage in. Whether we do it for ourselves or for others, it allows us to show how much we care in a nourishing way. Gatherings are more intimate when the dishes that are shared have been prepared by friends or family. The food itself becomes more satisfying when it is imbued with the care of the very people you’ve been looking forward to being with again. In addition, the social interaction that flows from the sharing of a meal adds to the joy and enrichment of each person around the table.


Beyond the practical benefits of preparing the food yourself — saving money, improving health, and developing life skills — cooking also feeds self-empowerment. For one thing, it helps boost self-esteem. Being able to produce an appetizing meal after following a recipe gives us a dose of confidence. It is gratifying to create something tangible that you and your loved ones can enjoy. Second, it helps build a routine that benefits our psyche by balancing our circadian rhythms through habitual activity. And lastly, cooking allows you to be more creative — especially when experimentation is involved — which in turn helps improve your mood and overall well-being.


Sharing Traditions

During my childhood and adolescence (yes, I am that young ;) ), family recipes were shared through word-of-mouth, hands-on home lessons, and recipe cards. Most of these written recipes were from my grandmother, during the time when penmanship was an actual subject taught in school. I remember how charmed I was by the lovely swoops and flourishes of her handwriting — and yes, written with a fountain pen no less! A 1940s Parker 51, to be exact. Those cards were a treasured legacy handed down from her, to my mother, and now to me.


Now, I continue this lovely tradition in my own way — by writing down recipes that I have tried in a little journal, and adding my own notes as I experimented with substitutions. My found sister asked for one recipe for bread we had baked together during one of our feasts. It felt caring and thoughtful — writing everything down with my favorite fountain pen, making sure it was legible ( haha ;P ), and handing it over to her like a personal letter. 


Cooking for me has always been an expression of love, and sharing what I create is my affectionate way of letting others feel that. Handwritten recipes and little notes that come with gifts add that distinctive touch that make them more meaningful to both giver and recipient.


A daughter is a rainbow — a curve of light through scattered mist that lifts the spirit with her prismatic presence. Is a shadow — a reminder of something brilliant ducking out of sight, too easily drawn away. She is an aria, swelling within the concern chamber, an echo reverberating across a miniature sea. She is a secret, whispered, a hint of what we cannot know until it finds us. She is a sliver of her father, a shard of her mother. A daughter is a promise, kept. — Ellen Hopkins, Triangles


Honoring Daughters

Every fourth Sunday of September has been dedicated to raising awareness by honoring daughters around the world. It was born in India, to counteract the stigma associated with having a girl child in the family and the constrictions of patriarchy. Since then, International Daughters’ Day commemorates women as blessings to the family, as equals in society, and as unique individuals deserving of recognition and support.


It is a privilege for parents to be witness to and guardians of their daughters’ growth and transformation into people complete unto themselves. When they leave the nest cognizant and confident of their own capabilities, the whole world will become better for it.


This is the time for parents to show their daughters how valued they are. Through various acts of caring and appreciation, familial bonds are renewed and strengthened. As daughters have a significant role within the family, enriching these connections encourages them to continue to be empowered members of the community.


We can celebrate this day with our beloved daughters by doing something as simple and personal as writing them a letter or sending a thoughtful card. It is another endearing way of reconnecting with them — with our own thoughts, in our own words, using our pens.


Lastly, why not cook with your daughter? This is a warm and wonderful way of celebrating two special days at once. Happy National Cooking With Your Daughter Day! :))



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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!

Author: Lekz

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