I don’t know if I’ve ever really made it clear, over the past six years, when I’ve waxed eloquent or nostalgic or downright desperate about wanting my home space, but when I’m talking about that shit, I’m really basically talking about wanting my own goddamn kitchen.
Home for me is where the hearth is, and I’m not talking about where some hypothetical shedding monster is sprawled out in front of a jolly crackling fire. I’m talking about what was originally happening on people’s hearths, like, 800 years ago, which would have been stirring some big pot and turning a spit and and testing the dough that you put on the rise last night and checking that the coals weren’t burning too high and not incidentally keeping warm in a cold, cold world. Home emanated out from there.
Over the last six years, while I’ve been on tour, the places where I live have no coals, real or metaphorical. They have glass stove tops against which I am afraid to rattle a single pan, or confusingly marked ovens that will burn my potatoes as easily as bake them. There is no spit, but there might be a big pot, lots of pots, unfamiliar pots whose scorch levels I don’t know, whose surfaces I will inevitably have to scrub because of said scorching, and there are three kinds of scrubbies and I will be lost.
But I know what it feels like to have my own kitchen, and I want it back.
I want it for myself. Oh, I want it bad, even while I’m well aware that my jet-setting artist lifestyle—less jet-setting, I suppose, and more train-banging—keeps me from ever fully setting my roots in anywhere. I thought having a new home base would help a little with that, but if anything, my cravings have gotten worse. My new place is very much a lodger situation, where the pre-existing kitchen set-up is delightful, but still … pre-existing; there is really no input I can make on what’s in the kitchen, because there is no room. And even if there were, it turns out I’m only really home and cooking for two weeks of the month. And SERIOUSLY, I’m an independent woman and I got shit to do.
Still. Among that shit, I always make room for cooking. For others, sometimes, to remind them how much I love them, how much I want to help sustain them in their own work on this earth. Putting thought and care and creativity into food for someone else really feels like the only gift I can reliably make sometimes.
I don’t just want to cook for people, I want to cook with them, in their company. It’s the one person, really, UK Muse. I like the way we cook together, dancing around each other from refrigerator to stove to cutting board to sink, a complex little waltz that weaves through each meal that we make. I want to cook for him, and sometimes with him, and I want that space to be ours, someplace that we have kitted out together.
And I have cooking to do for myself. When UK Muse and I are living together, he will cook for me sometimes. I want to lean on that, especially on the nights when I am returning from a week on the road. I can’t wait for that luxury, of someone else caring for me. But right now, I’m the only one who can take care of me, and I cook for myself for the same reasons that I cook for others. It is self-care and attention to my body, something that also feeds my soul in a way that nothing else does.
Hearth is the place for this, even if I’m away from it more days than not. I want to know that it’s there, that stovetop that I personally speckled with grease, the spice rack that my love and I curated together, the fruit bowl on the counter that is mine to fill.
Home is where the heart is, yes. And my heart will always be there in the kitchen.
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