I used to live by myself, when I had a high-paying job and could do so. One of the things I loved most about living alone was having my very own kitchen, set up exactly according to how I cook.
Cooking fed not just my body but also my creativity. It helped me train myself into taking better pictures, and also led me towards a more positive and optimistic perspective. How can I stay cranky while surrounded by the mist of a simmering dish? It also taught me how to appreciate the little things, the small details, because the way to a satisfying dish is a litany of small steps. I can cook fast but I never rush. There is a natural rhythm to peeling and slicing, epiphanies slip in while waiting for something to boil, even pacing the grocery aisles looking for ingredients is an exercise in serendipity.
I loved the idea of NOURISHMENT. I cook old favourites and new discoveries. I like my food to offer familiar comfort but to also evolve and open up ideas. Flavours can inspire, take me to places I've never been, hint at stories.
When I moved back in with my parents (because I was stubborn enough to insist on creating a creative work path for myself), I missed my kitchen. And I missed cooking. My mom's kitchen is everything that discourages me from cooking, the opposite of how I had set up my own. I cannot find the rhythm nor the pockets of precious peace. Also, I cannot afford to cook for myself again yet. Ingredients for recipes go second to art materials. I still need a bit more time to gather a bit more funds.
I had once planned to set my own kitchen corner somewhere in my parents' house. I am thinking perhaps even a roofed over space in the backyard will do. I still have my stove, and my cooking pots. I just need a separate space, with my own pantry. When I have funds. (It is a bit sad it always boils down to money. If I were in the country I could hammer myself a space with wood found in the nearby forest, or the good ol' farmer in the next farm could offer to fix something up in exchange for tending the chickens, or something of the sort. Here in the city, everything has to come from a shop, exchanged with money. And everything so expensive.)
Today I started dusting off my cookbook collection. I was doing it before I realised that I was doing it. I need to cook. I need to approach the cauldron again. Rediscover the magic in herbs and spices. Revive another space where I can find calm and inspiration.
Funny thing is, last night I started reading Women Who Run With The Wolves, and here I am puttering towards something so domestic-sounding as cooking. But we all know it is really more than that, right? A woman in the kitchen is not at all domesticated or homely. A woman in the kitchen is someone tapping into one of her true inner powers of transformation, manifesting in so many ways.
Let the cauldron bubble.