Friday, March 21, 2008

coming home

i've learned techniques and recipes all over the world. this chopping, that braising, a couple of those grillings. picked up the early ones from mom and bec, some on my own through the tube (and tubes), and most i haven't even started to learn yet.

but i was going through pictures. and then i was going through memories. and technique wasn't so important to meals that were made by gnarled hands and paring knives, thin-skinned pans and worn wooden spoons.

a bag of peppermint candies on the front seat of aunt ida and uncle milt's car.

pitchers of sun tea on the back porch off the kitchen sitting by the old tin washtub.

last year's wasp's nests clinging to the eaves of the garage.

the painted silver swing set in the yard and the green porch swing being hung up by dad and uncle paul.

and the more i think back, the more i wonder if this wasn't where my earliest memories of food exist. if 'comfort food' isn't so glittery and enticing to me because it came from here.

here's where i learned to pass the salt and pepper; that is was okay to have a peanut butter cookie with a kiss on top while waiting for dinner; that tomatoes come from the vine to the table through the back door; that white bread with butter is how sandwiches start.

here's where i learned that faster isn't always better; that people who grew up in the 30s don't eat medium rare burgers; that old things ARE good things; that handmade, be it wooden toys by great uncle dan or parker house rolls by grandma, are always better than what you get somewhere else.

the picture you see is after the most recent face lift of a house built in 1884. the gutting is happening now.

we never had central heating or air, the warm morning stove has been passed on to a neighbor and the house will have modern now.

there was never anything bittersweet about that to me. i miss the feel of the room with the stove, sure.

but for some reason, not a strange one, the thought of turning into the yard and parking; walking down lawn and in through the porch; turning in to the kitchen and setting down a load of bags; and starting to get christmas dinner ready in this place with these's just what i want to have always had.

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