Because a life unexamined is lived without intention.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Do you believe in magic?
Of fairies and hobbits I am unsure, but I wholeheartedly believe in the alchemy of the kitchen. That wonderland of taste and scent, the kitchen is where I long to be. I cannot turn water into wine, but if you give me six hours, I can turn it into gold.
The simplicity of filling a pot with water, the slight slosh as you place it on the stove. The click of the burner and the whoosh as the gas catches--a few of my favorite things, these are. For they are the beginning. And sometimes, beginnings are magic.
My fingers slide along the bones of the roasted chicken, peeling flesh from their ivory lengths, separating tendons and sinews and skin. The naked carcass sinks beneath the water's surface, somehow reminding me of a grand ship in a rather warm ocean. Onions and celery and salt, bay leaves, plump cloves of garlic and inky black peppercorns swirl along the surface as steam begins to fog the kitchen window. With a soft smile I pause in the doorway. I'm leaving a simmering pot of water, but will return in a few hours...
And there will be gold.
Liquid amber succulence. The limp remains of the vegetables removed, their essence bled into that which will delight. The bones have given up their marrow, their soul...perhaps this is magic indeed, for how else does water become so nourishing, so heartening? Now with piles of chopped onions and celery, ribbons of carrots and rosemary pulled fresh from the porch, leaving it's mouth-watering scent on my fingers as I watch it fall into the pot. Twenty minutes and in with the mountain of chicken, a cupful of corn and cream.
The house is filled. Not just with things...but with promise. With music and herbs and the delicious heat escaping from the oven where the crust of the bread is slowly darkening. And this...this is the magic that began with a cold pot of water and a dark kitchen.
I love soup. I've quite literally lived off soup at one point. When your body is weak, it craves the liquid meal; when your wallet is empty, you can fill bellies with the odds and bits found in the back of the fridge after they've been souped. (yes, that's a word...well, at least now it is) With imagination--there is no end to the soups one can make. You take what you have....and add love.
Isn't this life? The odds and bits that are here sometimes by choice and sometimes by chance, they may not add up to the designer menu we intended. There was a shortage of lobster. But with time and heat and a handful of spice, a dash of salt...and love. There is soup. Sustenance and provision. Nourishment for the soul as well as the heart.