I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™ve ever really made it clear, over the past six years, when Iâ€™ve waxed eloquent or nostalgic or downright desperate about wanting my home space, but when Iâ€™m talking about that shit, Iâ€™m really basically talking about wanting my own goddamn kitchen.
Home for me is where the hearth is, and Iâ€™m not talking about where some hypothetical shedding monster is sprawled out in front of a jolly crackling fire. Iâ€™m talking about what was originally happening on peopleâ€™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 werenâ€™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 donâ€™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 Iâ€™m well aware that my jet-setting artist lifestyleâ€”less jet-setting, I suppose, and more train-bangingâ€”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 â€¦ pre-existing; there is really no input I can make on whatâ€™s in the kitchen, because there is no room. And even if there were, it turns out Iâ€™m only really home and cooking for two weeks of the month. And SERIOUSLY, Iâ€™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 donâ€™t just want to cook for people, I want to cook with them, in their company. Itâ€™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 canâ€™t wait for that luxury, of someone else caring for me. But right now, Iâ€™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 Iâ€™m away from it more days than not. I want to know that itâ€™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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