There is nothing like the sizzle of an onion hitting hot oil in my cast iron skillet. All the senses get involved, the heat from the stove, the smell of the onion and oil, the sound, and the feel of beginning again. The practice of making a meal keeps me together sometimes.
The process of peeling and slicing, and the small disciplines of the kitchen sooth my soul. I think it’s because these rituals get me out of my head and ground in me in the real world. I spend far too much time in my own head, thinking, dreaming, reading, and planning. In the kitchen, I make things happen.
I used to sew and it had a similar effect. The feel of the fabric, the tactile pleasures of the iron, the pins, and running fabric through the machine. I even loved hand stitching, the simple in and out of the needle brought me back to this space. To this moment in time.
I am not one who longs for another time. I don’t believe there has ever been a better place or time to be a woman. In my lifetime, I’ve seen things change for the better in the lives of women. I’ve had the privilege of education, autonomy, and some financial means long enough to know that I wouldn’t want to give them up.
I remember watching my grandma Zehrung making breakfast in her big kitchen, pouring orange juice into little glasses, with coffee, eggs, meat, and potatoes. When the meal was over, she washed and sorted her kitchen back into order. She did this three times a day in the large house on the hill. She and her mother worked on beautiful appliqué quilts that were often practical and beautiful gifts. They did this between the meals and the household chores. I wonder what she would think of my life today.
Over the years, I’ve tried many of the things I watched my grandmothers do. I’ve canned (once… man that’s a lot of work), quilted, sewn, and gardened. The difference is that my family did not rely on these things. For me, they were just diversions, skills I wanted to learn for the history and the connection, not to keep my family together.
These days, I have forgotten what I like to do beyond words (reading and writing them). Except for cooking, which I have missed more than anything. Maybe in this new season, I will find a new hobby, or rekindle an old one. For today, I am happy to be in the kitchen making dinner.
This is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to follow along.