Our Sacred Hearth started in 2009 when I started working for LifeWays Child Development Center as an organic cook. LifeWays is a Waldorf based preschool and daycare. It’s a wonderful place that focuses on being a home like environment for children to grow at their own pace. It’s full of natural elements without media distractions. It’s full of wooden toys, simple play silks, sheep skins, simple dolls, and nature “treasures”. These simple toys, void of noise, bright colors and media marketing create an environment that allows the children to use their own imagination and creative problem solving skills. They spend a great deal of time outside exploring freely the wonder of nature. This reverence for nature allows them the chance to explore realities we are so disconnected to.. such as where our food comes from. Sadly if you ask a child where milk comes from these days they’re more likely to say the grocery store than the cow! My role was to provide nutritious organic vegetarian meals made the old fashioned way-from scratch. It was also my job to tend to the garden and harvest food with the children and get them involved in the cooking process so that they understood that food doesn’t come from the shelves but rather the ground of the planet we live on.
I had already started doing this at home when I had my daughter, Lydia. I made all of her baby food organic and from scratch. We had a tiny garden at home but it was pretty unsuccessful, I’ve never had much of a green thumb honestly. Luckily, I started during the fall so I had some time to figure out what I was doing wrong.. and I had the help of the caregivers who fortunately had fully functional green thumbs! And so began our journey!
In the first months I was very fortunate to hear Anne Marie Fryer speak during a class I was taking. She teaches at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School in Viroqua, WI. She has an extensive background of cooking knowledge and it’s spiritual connection. She authored the book Cooking for the Love of the World and Our Relationship to our Spirituality through Cooking as well as several others. Hearing her speak of our ancestors ritual in the hearth and of the symbolism of different plants really spoke to me. We are what we eat. We consume all we put into our meals, and maybe, just maybe that’s why we feel an emptiness and disconnection from our beloved Earth. Something is missing. I sought to reconnect to that ancient world.
From that moment on, all meal preparation became a ritual for me. From entering my kitchen, to putting on my apron, to cleansing and rinsing fruit and vegetables, lighting the fire that cooks them and so on. I put love into every task at hand. Even the cleaning up process in which we get the children fully involved. My daughter was washing her dishes before she was 1 and it isn’t because I’m that strict, it’s because she wanted to help and I believed in her enough to let her try. All of the children felt a great sense of pride and connection to meal times through this simple act of involvement and reverence for our food.
I started researching everything I could about food, nutrition, sustainability, traditional medicine, kitchen witchery, organic farming, sustainable farming, food documentaries, and on and on. From there I started creating new meals, finding a lot of inspiration from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. People started asking me for my recipes and new found natural cleaning remedies etc and so I started this blog so I could share what I’ve learned. I am by no means the source of all wisdom related to food. But I do hope you are at least inspired to reconnect to the kitchen you create your own magic in!