I spend an inordinate amount of time in my kitchen. It’s a reality of my life. I have two children and a husband to feed and I prepare ninety-nine percent of our meals (the one percent is for special occasions where my husband steps foot in the kitchen). This a fact of life. A fact I accept as being neither good or bad, right or wrong, feminist or anti-feminist, it just is. This arrangement has become the rhythm of our lives and it’s worked for us.
The kitchen, ironically, in front of hot pans and boiling broths, is where I get the most privacy. The kitchen, arguably one of the most public spaces in a home, is my private space. Since I no longer shower, use the bathroom, do chores or do anything uninterrupted due to two very inquisitive children; the kitchen, because of its dangerous nature, they aren’t allowed to enter while I am cooking, has become my private place where I go with my thoughts. I think about my day there, what my day yesterday was like, what I liked about it, what made me so irritated. I make plans while I am preparing my meals. I think about what went wrong with this or that in the kitchen. I process my thoughts in the kitchen. I think about the next topics and contents for my next blog entry there, praying that I don’t forget by the time I am finished cooking. The kitchen has become a breeding ground for my thoughts and plans for my life.
I’ve always loved to cook. I love it more on some days than others. And I’ve always been a competent cook. I have a natural gift in the kitchen, it isn’t an onerous chore for me to cook. I can make almost anything from scratch and I am very creative with making new dishes from leftovers. It took me a long time to realize, my ability find my way in the kitchen mirrors the ability for me to right the course in my own life when I get lost. I instinctively need to know what I need to do to make things right, it becomes a matter of follow through. Short of burning down the kitchen, there’s really no cooking disaster that can’t be fixed. If it’s so bad and the dish is unsalvageable, you just start over. Same as dilemmas in life; as long as one has breath in their body, all wrongs can be fixed – maybe it’s naive or idealistic but I believe this. I believe in second, third, fourth and fifth chances at life, until you get it right for yourself, not the standards or expectations of others.
The kitchen, the most mundane of all living spaces. A space that is more utility than anything, has become my spiritual refuge. All the major elements of the earth all end up in the kitchen in one form or another. The water to cleanse and cook the food with. The fire to transform it from raw to cooked food and fresh food items itself comes from the earth and it grows with the aid of the air in the atmosphere.
Each of the earth’s elements is also a chance at renewal. Water, Fire, Earth and Air are all natural and healing elements, a healthy dose of each can blow the cobwebs from one’s mind. Sometimes we need to set fire to our past and then to cleanse and put out the embers with water. The earth and air is an environment for growth and renewal as long as we are open to them. I realized all of this while standing over the stove, preparing my next meal for my eager family. I prepare our meals with love and healing in my heart; it is my hope that energy gets transferred to the meal on the table.