By Hector Avitia, Precious Blood Volunteer
The Joy of Cooking
Last week my community had its first house meeting. We divided up the chores and the first floor of the Formation House in Chicago (my floor), was assigned to dinner duty on Wednesdays. Up until this point I had been able to avoid cooking for the whole house because two of our community members took care of most of the cooking. I decided to bite the bullet and I volunteered for the first scheduled dinner for our floor this week. I don’t remember the last time I was this nervous about dinner. I wanted to get home early enough to cook patiently and diligently but that did not happen. When I got home I got so nervous about cooking that I had to get my mother on video chat to help walk me through the process. So there I am, making a mess in the kitchen while I spoke Spanish with my mom and dad over video chat, rushing and managing several pots and pans all at once. It was definitely a sight to behold in a house that is usually calm and quiet.
Thanks to God who, through my mother’s love and direction, allowed me to make a full meal that consisted of chicken enchiladas (garnished with freshly cut lettuce, tomato from the garden at PBMR, and avocado), rice, and beans. The kitchen didn’t burn down and the portions I made were enough to feed the whole house. I have always been uncomfortable about cooking, but not until I thought back to our cooking class at Orientation and the reflection given by Lucia, the facilitator of the cooking class), did I really figure out why I was such a nervous wreck. Preparing a meal is a very deep way that we connect with friends and family. In a way, I was sharing an intimate, a spiritual, part of me by cooking a meal for the house. I think we all seek acceptance when we open ourselves up to others like that, and making this meal made me vulnerable to the other guys in my house. Thanks to the support of my housemates, I am excited to cook again for my house when my turn comes around.
Hector is a current Precious Blood Volunteer serving at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago. To learn more about becoming a Precious Blood Volunteer go to www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org.