The kitchen has always been an important part of family and life for me; I started cooking at a young age and practically grew up in it.
My Father cooked often growing up- and still cooks, certainly. To this day, some of my most treasured family recipes come from him. But growing up, he didn’t like cooking with a crowd. Instead, it was my Mother from whom I got my passion for cooking- and my need to seek out recipes and try new things; to experiment and explore the wonderful realm of food and all that it had to offer me.
In the childhood memories of every good cook there’s a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot, and a mom. – Barbara Costikyan
When we were young my Mother had us in the kitchen with her at every conceivable opportunity. Over the years, she taught us to make the perfect Thanksgiving Turkey and the most delicious Christmas Hams. But she taught us to make simple things, too- like Ramen Noodles, Grilled Cheese, and other dishes. More importantly, though, she had a very simple rule in our house: Don’t say you don’t like it until you’ve tried it at least three times, three different ways.
I’ve stuck by that rule even in adulthood, and it’s done well for me; it’s taught me to get creative with food, and that creativity has introduced me to some amazing ways to prepare foods that I didn’t initially like (and to think that I’d have never known about them if I hadn’t given them the second- and sometimes third or fourth- chance that my Mother’s childhood rule demanded).
My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me. It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future. – Pearl Bailey
Today, my soul is in the kitchen and it is an almost holy place for me to be; every entrance into the kitchen- every cup of tea poured, stew made, or bread loaf baked- is something that is worthy of pomp and celebration; every act of cooking is, in itself, an entire ritual from start to finish- beginning with the laying of ingredients, and ending when our bellies are good and stuffed, the leftovers have been placed away, and the dishes done.
But it’s not just about the food itself, though. It’s about what it can do both for you and others; food is central to social and cultural rituals all over the world, and plays an integral role in our lives on many levels. More than that, it can bring people together- be it family, friends, or complete strangers; it can heal heartache; it can bring happiness and joy; it can comfort the sad, and nourish the sick… Food in and of itself is magical, no magic required.
When she goes about her kitchen duties, chopping, carving, mixing, [and] whisking, she moves with the grace and precision of a ballet dancer, her fingers plying the food with the dexterity of a croupier. – Craig Claiborne
Ultimately, I find nothing more relaxing than feeling my bare feet against the hardwood, the heat of the oven, and the smell of fresh bread in the air. It is something sacred and nourishing to my soul, and the kitchen (any kitchen really) is the root of who I am now. I am tied to it as much as I am tied to myself- and I wouldn’t have it any other way; all good things come from the kitchen, and no matter who you are there’s always a place for you there… And I think that’s why I love it so much.