Monday, November 30, 2009

Welcome Morning

Just a poem today, from Anne Sexton...

Welcome Morning

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though I often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter in the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

This Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

This poem has become a favorite in the midst of life, and I think of it often in our kitchen. Our kitchen, our home, has become a place to appreciate the gestures and moments of life that are everything to us. I speak in the first plural here, though my love is thirty feet away, for I know that she would agree with me on this. It is in the ordinary that we find and approach the sublime. It is in the moments that could so easily pass without any notice that we find our breath joined, when I look at her and she at me, and one or the other of us simply says, "I love you, too."

Life, it seems, is in these moments. As our dog sleeps on the sofa, I type away at my computer, and N begins the dishwashing duties Cat Stevens is on the radio asking where the children play. Just an hour ago this room was filled with a wonderful group of people sharing life and working through the complexities of being queer. In the midst of our hurt, we feel the unity of community and know that we have a place somewhere with the divine. We have a place at the table, and the food is so so good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

my 2¢

well, my beloved (whom i might sometimes refer to as yessie) decided she wanted to try her hand at a blog last week, so she set up a joint blog, which i think is lovely. perhaps it is part of our nesting process :) it seems only appropriate that those activities find their way to the lands of the internets.

many things have been happening in our little kitchen this week. although we weren't hosting thanksgiving dinner, we did make 3 vegan dishes and a bevy of bread to take with us to the lovely home where we'd been invited to share thanksgiving supper.

there was an abundance of leftover veggies from our CSA pickup last week and thanksgiving is the one day a year the food pantry that we share veggies with is closed. So we loaded our counters (and the counters of friends) with many extra veggies.

for thanksgiving, i cooked beets with clementine slices, chinese five spice, and additional cloves and cinnamon that were FABulous, as well as roasted turnips & sweet potatoes, and pomegranate glazed greens with cranberries and pine nuts. yessie baked FOUR kinds of bread (mostly rolls, but some loaves)--wheat, garlic challah, garlic vegan, and cranberry walnut. The kitchen was bustling all day, and it was wonderful.

on saturday we took on a task of monolithic proportions and decided to repaint our kitchen. last week our kitchen was a dirty white and the soffit was crayola orange. we've been talking about repainting the soffit for a while because the orange didn't really pop the way we wanted it too. we also decided to repaint the white walls because there were gaping holes present where i'd removed hardware that had been left by the former tenant.

we went to the hardware store and bought a few test samples to try--they looked terrible. we decided to steer away from orange completely and went back to the store and picked out a deep purple that appeared to be somewhere between the color of a raisin and a eggplant. for the other walls we chose the palest version of this color (basically a bright white). i like the white because it makes the kitchen feel cleaner. so far our soffit looks like barney the dinosaur--it still needs a few layers to fully cover crayola orange, so we haven't given up on it yet. i was hoping it would have more of a brown undertone to it, but apparently that paint color doesn't exist. it is fascinating to me how paint almost never looks the way you expect it to look. que sera...

so, why limit the use of one's little kitchen to the task of painting? we invited 4 people over and made gnocchi saturday night! butternut squash and roasted garlic gnocchi as well as a beet and potato gnochhi. they were beautiful, but not as soft and billowy as i'd hoped. does anyone have good gnocchi tricks, tips, or recipes? we mixed the gnocchi with peas, pecans, goat cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil--it was very filling, and pretty darn tasty.

today the kitchen has a sinkful of dishes waiting to be washed and a soffit with a second coat of paint. soon the dishes will be clean, the soffit will be purple, and our little kitchen will begin to settle into itself again. as always, it continues to overflow with love.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Back to the land...

I read this post on the NY Times today, the day after Thanksgiving:

Back To the Land

I was in a conversation the other day where I began talking about the hopelessness that creeps in. We are killing each other at a frighteningly fast rate. Substances that contain nothing of any nutritional value pass as food and we eat them up, coming back hungry for more artificial sweetness, so often finding whole food tasteless because we have not experienced the flavor of a real tomato or strawberry, as we have only had the over-treated brightly colored representation of a tomato or strawberry. There is something remarkable about watching food grow, and in sharing a meal with community. In the slowing down, we begin to become aware of color and sounds and flavors that were not there before, relishing in the first bite of bread fresh out of the oven or soup that has been simmering on the stove for hours. Ahh, I digress...

In this conversation, mid-lament, I was reminded that I am not alone standing beneath the titanic wall of go-go-go. The picture then shifted for me shifted when I pictured myself not cowering in front of a 1000-ton brick and steel tank but standing hand-in-hand with so many people with whom I would love to share a meal or a life. We cannot do it alone, and what is better: we don't have to.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day One

As I was in the midst of rolling out dough today to make garlic knots in preparation for our Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow, N showed up with her camera. This is nothing new in our lives, or in our kitchen; video updates and regular photographic documentation are two of the things I love most about our relationship. When we first started dating, we discovered a mutual desire for community, and both found joy in preparing and sharing food. There is something profound in the simplicity of a bowl of fruit with greek yogurt, honey, and walnuts, or in the first bite of an apple purchased from a farmer whose name you know, or in bread fresh out of the oven, or in blackberry cobbler still piping hot, warming your throat after hitting you with a sweet tartness on the first bite. Our relationship has formed in many ways around the simple complexity of time spent in the kitchen building a meal. The first gift I gave N was a cookbook, and she was the one who gave me my first bread-baking cookbook, which has developed into my own loved process. Food has just always been part of who we are together.
About a year or so into our relationship, we found ourselves frustrated regularly on Sunday mornings, as we both tried to prepare a meal, tripping over each other's feet, often with hot skillets in-hand. For a good year-and-a-half, the solution was simply to not try and cook together when we were both really hungry; the kitchen was just too small not to get frustrated by the inevitable toe-stepping and reaching-around-to-access-the-cabinet. We've since found a way to co-exist in a little kitchen, which seems to me to be a metaphor for so much more. Our relationship has grown around preparing food; amidst the chaos of life and the process of growing, we have become together. As Brian Andreas says, "There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other's cooking & say it was good."
So, this blog is a way to share some of that. It may involve recipes; it will certainly involve photos, and it will hopefully involve laughter as we make this journey together, and invite those reading to come along. We have a tiny kitchen, but it is full of a big love.