Friday, September 26, 2008

Cooking Makes Her Happy

This is a painting I did a couple years ago that lives in Ela's house now; she calls it a Kitchen Goddess. For me, I think it will always be called Cooking Makes Her Happy. It was a one-hour painting (more like one afternoon) that I did on a night like tonight: a night that I spend content and complete cooking in my home.

It's so funny how we lose track of the things that ground us the most when our pace is that of hummingbirds. Listening to the new Jenny Lewis and the old Yeah Yeah Yeahs records in my kitchen while making Potato Leek Soup and Baked Zucchini was more satisfying to me, just plain me, than anything else this week. I even had a theme that guided my recipe choices: my favorite herb, Herbes de Provence - a savory blend of rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil, bay leaf and lavender that's used a lot in French and Irish recipes.

I stood in my usual spot to the right of the stove chopping, mixing, flavoring and tasting. I felt complete and peaceful and stopped moving for a few moments to make sure that the calm was real.

Some of my favorite memories of growing up are those simple, mundane evenings sitting down to dinner at my mother's kitchen table. She always lays out a spread, a main dish with sides that compliment and enhance it and each other. She approaches food preparation for us, her loved ones, effortlessly but with the coordination of a stylist. I have seen myself so many times in the mirror to the left of my seat of the dinner table, reflected as a mural with the ones I love most and the meals that nourished our bellies and hearts.


Reem Tara said...

Beautiful! It reminds me of mom's Roast Chicken dinner; roasted chicken, potatoes, parsnips, gravy, salad, and little cups of cinnamon applesauce on the side. Yay!

Sara Ashes said...

That's exactly what I was thinking of! Or lemon chicken night with angel hair spaghetti, corn and salad. Or roast beef with asparagus, roast potatoes, broccoli and salad. Always classy, always a feast.