My Kitchen Rules
My kitchen is the center of my universe. Not a very worldly declaration, I admit. But I suspect that many others would agree that the kitchen, their kitchen, holds very special meaning in their lives. I recall, years ago living in Rome and dreaming of my kitchen back in the States. Despite the glory that is Rome, I was homesick. There were moments of longing for the great food, the good times of home – something that one takes for granted until deprived of the pleasure. It’s not a bad idea to take a good objective look at the blessings of home in general, and what is important; we need to appreciate every aspect, every day. In my case, my kitchen rules.
My kitchen is not new. Far from it. Not one of the gorgeous, sprawling, state-of-the-art laboratories I so admire in magazine layouts. My kitchen is a vintage, mid-century timepiece. Very little about it has changed since childhood, when my sisters and I worked out all of childhood’s many dramas at our kitchen table. Decades of memories are stored in its outdated walls, its walk-in pantry, and scalloped moldings.
Intentions to renovate when we moved back to the family homestead from New York City years ago were pre-empted by more immediate priorities. And so time passed, and the kitchen went from “tired and passé” to desirable, collectible, and “totally cool”. See what happens when one waits long enough?
I was blessed with a mother who (among other things) had a genius for the culinary arts. Untrained, she was what one would call a “natural”. She ran a business and still found time to turn out gorgeous meals and baked goods. She had an indefatigable spirit and deep devotion to her kids. Our kitchen was one “happening place”. Gatherings of family and friends etched joyous memories into our minds as well as into the ethers of this wonderful room. The beautiful experiences I associate with this kitchen has turned it into Command Central for my soul; it’s the place where solace resides when the stresses of the street threaten to destroy my last nerve.
To this day there is no micro-wave in my kitchen. Nor it there a dishwasher. No dishwasher???!! I hear this all the time from friends and associates. No dishwasher.
Truth is, there are actually two dishwashers in my home, and they are both human.
When my thoughts go to the idea of a brand new, modern kitchen, replacing the Youngstown cabinets and the Ozzie & Harriet ambience, my heart knows that nothing money can buy will ever be as good, or as comforting, as this room, just as it is. Friends agree.
So it is old. But my kitchen is clean and sparkly, usually filled with music and flowers. There is candlelight. And the aroma of something spectacular cooking on the stove. Outside the window is a gigantic Japanese Maple tree which had been relatively small for a very long time, and suddenly took on a mysterious growth spurt. Now its elegant presence dominates the backyard and fills the kitchen window with its majesty.
It’s almost time to make dinner after a day of work, and the prospect cheers me, as the time spent in my kitchen is, well, so much fun.
What are you going to fix for dinner in your kitchen?
I do hope it will be a real taste treat and not some nuked-up pre-fab imitation of food. We are going to make a big, crispy salad with as many colors as we can find: spinach, red peppers, radishes, red onions, sweet corn, and carrots. On it will be a piece of grilled salmon, and an amazing dressing of olive oil, lemon, fresh ginger and a little garlic.
And it will be made in my favorite room in the house.
Have I mentioned? My kitchen rules.
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