A small dining table and chairs enabled us to eat all our meals and drink our wine overlooking the beautiful fields as the colors changed from pastel to saturated to the velvet tones of night. In Cornwall, the large farmhouse kitchen was a welcome refuge from traffic lanes that were little more than trails, with room for only one car at a time and hedges so tall one couldn't see past them. A simple trip to the pub or the news agent's was enough to send me scurrying back to the warmth of the large oak table and the nested metal mixing bowls.
I was perfectly happy to stay in the kitchen.
The long, narrow, well-equipped kitchen at Culzean Castle in Scotland gave me the view over the cliffs toward Arran and Ireland through narrow, sparkling windows while rabbits scurried and pheasants strolled under the window in the warm May sunshine. Suburban kitchens reeked of Lemon Pledge and Mr. Clean, while city kitchens often retained the aromas of Chinese takeout and Mexican salsa.
I venture into the kitchen at parties, offering to help prepare food. I wander in and attack the pile of dishes that accumulate in the sink. Parties are difficult for a shy person.
But in the kitchen, I can participate in an activity, and it makes it easier for me to converse with strangers. Time spent in a kitchen makes me feel included in the life of the community. I'm a participant instead of an onlooker. I can see, smell, taste, feel, and hear the nurturing, nourishing aspects of the time and space I inhabit. That gives me an awareness and appreciation for the world around me. Kitchens make the personal universal and the universal personal.
My own hearth is the heart of my home. Other people's kitchens allow me to honor their hearts and hearths. Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement.
Seton, Susannah [WorldCat Identities]
Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music. Or try a flat single bed sheet. Cut the stem on the diagonal, place in a vase of warm water, and put on the kitchen table. All you need is a wicker basket, florist's foil, and some small pots of herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, or chives. Line the basket with foil.
Arrange the pots. Snip the herbs with scissors to use. My mother was known for her meat loaf. Oh, she mastered the art of cooking gourmet dishes as well—always expanding her repertoire, always learning new recipes, she was the master of all that she attempted, and she seldom suffered a kitchen disaster. But, back in my growing-up years, she had not yet essayed the complex or esoteric dishes she learned to cook later in life.
What she knew, and knew well, was how to make simple foods taste good. She never failed at any of them, from roast chicken to broiled fish. In my mother's hands, meat loaf was a company dish. I don't know if it was her recipe or her preparation. I believe it was both. I also believe that in part it was her use of herbs, at a time the s when herbs were not a part of every home cook's arsenal, as they are now. My best friend, a boy but that's another story , begged for meat loaf whenever he was invited to dinner.
I begged for it pretty often myself. My dad scarfed it down whenever we were fortunate enough that my mom made meat loaf for dinner. And the mere smell of it in the oven was enough to make us salivate worse than all of Pavlov's dogs put together. Even as an adult, when I was asked to have dinner at my mom's house, I hoped it was going to be meat loaf. Now, here's the funny thing: I'm a pretty darn good cook myself, but darned if I can master my mother's meat loaf. I tried it following her recipe. I tried it following her method without being a slave to amounts. Only once did I come close.
And that, I must admit, was a fluke. I couldn't repeat the results in a plethora of tries. I finally decided to give up, admit defeat, and look at it philosophically: My mother's meat loaf was just one more treat—beyond being in her company—to look forward to when we had dinner together at her house. And so, years ago, I gave up trying to duplicate her results.
My mother died a month ago. I don't have her meat loaf recipe, but I do know her method. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Simple Pleasures of the Kitchen , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Simple Pleasures of the Kitchen. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.
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