I’m sitting in my Seattle house (er, I mean, Arlie and Betsy’s house in Seattle), eating pepparkoker and finishing off a truly giant and ridiculous cup of eggnog-spiked coffee. I feel that I should be thinking about real, hard, deep things like not having found a job yet or getting in the mind set for the drastic weather difference I’m going to experience when I return to Minnesota, or the doomed state of our nation and how I still haven’t figured out something concrete to do about it. Instead, I’m thinking about my kitchen. I can’t help it. All that other stuff is exhausting sometimes, and I find that the one thing, the one elemental thing, I always go back to is food. There’s too much of it, but for many there’s too little. Anxiety makes you eat too much or not enough. You’re too depressed to cook, or you’re too depressed not to. It matters what we use to nourish ourselves, our people, and our community. So, I’m thinking about my food life.
More specifically, I’m thinking about my kitchen, which has been in various shades of disarray since I moved back to Minnesota. I don’t have a proper pantry, but instead a tall narrow cupboard with shallow short shelves. It is not what I would have picked for dry goods storage, but it’s what I’ve got, and I need to get it under control. I have been slowly labeling things and rearranging them, but have not liked any of the results yet. My resolve for the next year is to get all of that into shape, but to also not give up on it if I try a few configurations and don’t like them. (I have a bad habit of giving up too easily when it comes to organization.) Also, the vexing problem of how, for the love of all that is holy, to organize my spices. 2017 is gonna be my year.
Also in 2017, I’d like to write a little more about day-to-day cooking on this blog. I do so much cooking but feel that when it comes to writing, I should focus on more “hard-hitting” things than what’s on my dinner plate. I have always felt a bit of dissonance about food writing because of this. I feel most days that I should write about topical things, but I really want to talk about chocolate chip cookies or the first time I baked bread. I guess those are topical things in their own right. They seem so much “smaller” to me in the grand scope, but I’m trying to remind myself that not much else could be more grand than how we are feeding ourselves every single day?
I can’t remember where I heard this, but some food person in the last few weeks said that we should all make lunch for one another. The context was talking about how we can bridge the gaps between us, most notably the political ones. I’ll be honest, most days I feel bleak and angry enough that the last thing I’d want to do is make lunch for a Trump supporter. I don’t want to talk, I don’t have compassion, I don’t want to understand. But, I’m trying to keep that bitterness in check with hopefulness, with the idea that even though it may sound overly precious, maybe we can extend ourselves to those different from us, if only for the quiet commonality of sharing a meal.
To that end, there will be more food posts this coming year, and here’s where I need your help. I want your food stories and pictures. I want to know your food memories, techniques, and philosophies. I’m aiming to make this blog more visually appealing, so really, send me your photos and tell me about them! And, if you know me in real life and feel like doing some food photography with me, let me know.
I want this to be our kitchen year. I want us to find our shared ground in this small thing, and I want to stop feeling like and telling myself that it’s not relevant. Because it’s one of the most important aspects of our lives.