It’s the fruit bowl. It is, for me, what I can only describe as a happiness trigger. A full fruit bowl makes me feel rich, like the house is ready to support anyone who needs it. There is plenty of food to eat and even to fill a pie, and when someone says they need a snack, I know just where to point them. It’s a little thing, but also weighty, and I feel very thankful for that filled bowl. Eating from the Ground Up
I've had a few friends kindly inquire after my sanity with the number of food blogs I read. It's true. I may follow a good long list of them (some of my favourites are this one, this one, and definitely that one, though there are far too many to list here, see above re: sanity). Of course I love to eat and so part of my interest comes from sleuthing around for new ideas to try, like these baked peaches I tried last night (just perfect) or this heirloom tomato salad I'm hoping to try after my fruit and veggie box delivers more tomatoes tomorrow (my fruits and veggies come from here, if you're looking for a good service in Toronto--thanks, Tanja, for the excellent recommendation!). But as much as I love all the food, it's only half of the story. The other half is the kitchen.
The kitchen in my house growing up had this awkwardly placed counter in the middle of the room, one side of which had bar stools for me (and presumably, other people) to sit on. If I calculated the hours I spent talking with my mum while she cooked or washed dishes the total might reach in the trillions. I think I learned a lot about life from sitting there across from my mum. I know that I learned how to be a good friend as she'd talk me down from some girlfriend related drama I'd share with her while she made dinner. I know that I learned how sharing your biggest worries with someone else could make them feel a lot less overwhelming. I also know that I learned the perfect ratio of olive oil to tomatoes, how not to overcrowd mushrooms, and how to dredge the chicken first in the flour, then in egg. And I learned about salt, glorious salt!
The kitchen is where the magic happens. No matter where a kitchen is found it can easily be transformed into the centre of a home, drawing absolutely everyone inside its boundaries (partners, children, parents, second cousins, that lovely woman you met the day before). You see it wasn't just me who settled herself across the counter from my mum--by the time high school rolled around most of my friends had found themselves there at least a dozen times. By graduation it was me on the other side of that counter cooking for my friends. I remember how exciting (and I mean exciting) it was to start cooking with and for my friends, especially when it was food not ordinarily found in my own house. I felt mature, powerful, and like my life was really my own. I could create things, enjoy things, and sit for hours with people I loved.
Of course this isn't everyone's experience of the kitchen, but I wish it were. When I read these glorious blogs I find more than ideas of what to bake (and eat) that week, but I also find that excitement, that passion, for all things kitchen. These people who share so much of themselves as they offer this or that recipe, remind me every day how important my kitchen is, to my family, to my friends, and of course, to me. And so I will continue to steal moments from other people's kitchen through their blogs, even if I'll never have the opportunity to pull up a stool next to them, or roll out a pie crust for them to enjoy.
But the best, the absolutely best part about my kitchen? Sharing it with the two tiny people who wander in and out of it every single day. They ask to do the dishes, to whisk the pancake batter, to crack the egg. Sometimes they just park themselves on the floor, usually next to Hille the cat, and go about their business of enjoying their day. In my kitchen.
P.S. I don't want to forget to mention how much I adore this blog.
P.P.S. And this one.
P.P.P.S. Ok, I'll stop already.