We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
David Orr from "Earth in Mind"

Jan 20, 2007

On Being Domestic

The kitchen captured me today! I've been cooking and baking all afternoon. I baked four loaves of bread. I like this recipe for it's ease but I'm getting a little tired of the flavor so it's time to branch out. Still the act of making bread is one of the most centering in my life. I love how it smells like bread as the gluten forms and how it sighs when I punch it down.

It wasn't just bread that I made to today. Decided to make a nice dinner for Kevin, since he made homemade pasta last night. Stufato di Agnello alla Vino Blanco (lamb), Saffron Couscous, a Fennel and Onion soup, and bittersweet choclate pudding. Sounds like a lot of work but it actually only took an hour, except for whisking the pudding. Not bad for throughing something together with what is around the house.

Cooking, like reading, is something that I approach as a completely personal experience. I may be cooking for a group of friends or myself; either way it is the act that is satisfying. Back when I lived by myself I would make nice dinners for one, now that I have someone else to offer it to I give it as an act of love.

The comparison to reading is far reaching. Like cooking no two people read the same written piece the same way. As a child my father read to me the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books every night. I loved the sense of adventure and place that Tolkien created. In high school I discovered that most people I met who had read the books looked at them in a very different manner they saw them as magic and war oriented. Neither view was wrong.

Cooking is the same way, many people may make a soup but none bring to it my expectations of both the outcome and the experience (I'm guessing most don't think this much about it). I on the other hand revel in the soup. I love the chopping of the ingredients, watching the onions turn from white to transparent, listening to the pot ask for more liquid, and the smells that infuse the house. I love knowing when to push the heat and when to use time. Of course I love the eating of the soup but not as much as creating it.

I watch other people cook, ones who enjoy it, they follow recipes milligram to milligram, or they have different spices. The experience seems nothing akin to mine although they still love what they are doing, their enjoyment does not seem to come from the same thread as mine. Then there are those rare occations when I meet someone who approaches the kitchen the same way I do, my husband included, and I feel as though I have found a soulmate.

On a seperate but equally domestic note. I don't usually get giddy about inanimate objects except art and books but I was down right giddy yesterday when Kevin came home with Alder's new cloth diapers. We've easily spent the cost of the new diapers on disposable ones in the two months we've waited for them. Yes I love them for environmental and economic reasons but my main reason for love is that disposable diapers give Alder a rash. He's been in the new diapers since last night and the rash has vanished. So while I can where my Earth Mama badge again for having him in them I'll know that I'm also making the little bug more comfy.

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