...I also like to think about houses and land and various silly bits of interior decorating. Kitchens and counters and silly things like the fume hood and the color of the wood that things should be in such a kitchen. Because the kitchen is clearly the center of the any one house and as such must be the best room if at all possible. I mean most rooms must be the best room if at all possible, but. You know. A deep kitchen with a window over the sink, like kitchens should always have, and hanging copper pans and a sweet potato vine over the window frames, and herbs on the windowsill in a long thin rectangular pot, and then condensation gathering behind them whenever you are cooking enough to get the room up to cooking temperature, which is almost every day, and you get to look out over all the tendrils and leaves at fivethirty, when the winter is getting dark outside and the snow is blue against the pane. And then you get to sit down at the trestle table with lots of soup steaming out your pores and a thick chunk of bread and a cup of coffee and one of water, and lots of leafy greens you get to crunch against your back teeth and crush out the taste like you were a mortar and pestle. And watch the outside get darker and darker but you are inside and warm.
In the ideal kitchen there would be a hearth. An entirely hearth that takes up half a wall like the fireplace is now supposed to in living rooms, but really for real a hearth that you can cook on if you want but that you usually don't do much but boil water over and sit up near late in the evening, waiting for something to come out of the oven or having tea or brandy or what have you and talking and being warm and wrapped up in blankets and happy. One of the big ones you get in like camp lodges with the hearthstone big enough you can actually sit on the edge for real. I would like to see the traditional huge Irish and UK hearth. Supposedly you can get inside the hearth itself and this is a very nice idea. I think it is an accurate portrayal, to have it be something you can get into and be in. I would like to be able to do that, because the hearth is clearly the main artery of any house worth your while. Except not anymore since the advance of the electric kitchen. Still. It still should be is my point.
In the kitchen there you are with your shiny instruments, worn down to the shape of your hand or smooth and new against it. In the kitchen you set blades against the cutting board, crushing garlic cloves with the flat of the knife, cooking over the gas burner since you never want electric. You drink red wine over the half-made eggplant parmesan, olive oil and bread crumbs crusted over your opposite hand. You bake soda bread, pounding against the counter. Flour clings to your shirt; you leave imprints on the pages of your cookbook. You stand on a chair to reach the baker's chocolate at the back of the cabinet. You are active and there are people laughing similar at the counter. Light flashes in them, over you.
In a dim kitchen set with casement windows. In a long narrow kitchen, steel counters and spraying water. In a tiny apartment kitchen, stickly linoleum catching your socks. A refrigerator filled with root vegetables, butter, whole wheat bread, a bowl of garden tomatoes, and a quart of milk. One filled with Chinese takeout boxes, three different mustards, half a case of Coke, soy sauce, and ketchup packets. One filled with frozen juice mixed in a cheap plastic pitcher, cherry jam, raspberry jam, apricot jam, tonic water, six eggs, wilting broccoli and peanut butter. Drawers of mismatched silverware, of delicate honed knives, of hammers, wrenches, extension cords and lightbulbs. Shelves of dishes, of glasses, of mugs, of tea towels.
You are here in the center of your kitchen. Mine I build outward in succession. I build on myself. Lemons, apples, clementines. Blue stoneware that I grew up with, that my mother gave to me. The same cheese wedge with the same crack down its wooden handle ever since I can remember. Bread and cheese and tea. There is no house in which I put this my kitchen, not yet. Here is a table in my head, a chair and another and another chair, everything oak and varnished. Here are my knives and forks, my tablecloth, my firelight. Here is my bowl; here is my spoon.
Here you are at your own table. You grow up above your own head.