Sunday, November 1, 2015

Describe your favorite kitchen (November Writing Challenge, Day 1)


Girl, I don't know.

I'm basically scared of kitchens. Lots of things happen in them -- chopping, grating, mise en place-y type things -- and it's fascinating but aiiiiieeee what's happening?!

It's safe to say that I don't cook. I think a lot about becoming a person who cooks. Instead of thinking about some kind of iced lemon banana bread cake pop deliciousness treat I found on Pinterest as wistfully as I do the secret entrance to Narnia, I could just make the damn bread cookie loaf. Don't ask me why it seems impossible. Probably because I've never done it and, like a lot of people I would guess, I have a pathological fear of looking stupid. Even though no one else would be in my kitchen when I was mixing up dough and, I don't know, zesting a lemon and trying not to shave off my fingertips.

I know some of this comes from food-based trauma I have. Much of that is related to the overeating I did as a kid and teenager that got me in trouble and got me sent to psychologists and nutritionists and fat shrinks who professed to specialize in adolescent obesity.

Some of it is a general "I'll get in trouble" panic that I can never quite shake, like the time I was helping my mom peel potatoes back when we lived in Santa Fe (read: more than 30 years ago). She told me to be careful and I said I would be and promptly nicked my finger with the potato peeler. Wordlessly, I put down the peeler and left the room, bleeding like crazy. Dad found me a short while later, sitting on the couch in the dark, crying because I was terrified Mom was going to be mad at me. You'd think I came from some kind of abusive environment, but I didn't. I think I just established, from a young age, a strong sense of what it was like to disappoint people. Or believe I had. (Today's non-dirty double entendre: I still have a scar from that incident.)

Because kitchens are places where I have hurt myself, felt lost/confused/overwhelmed, and felt guilty and shameful for hiding food, it's difficult to imagine a place with blonde wood cabinetry, fancy appliances, and an island without automatically heaping the bad stuff on like so much garnish.

I will say I enjoy sitting in my parents' kitchen with its exposed brick, granite countertops, and fridge with a little filtered water spout (a true adult aspiration of mine should I ever live somewhere that doesn't already come with appliances). I like to watch my mom and my brother (a chef, as I've mentioned here before ad nauseum) cook. It's like magic and that makes me feel good and hopeful. Maybe someday I'll continue the healing by buying a cookie sheet or something. Baby steps.

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