Friday, September 14, 2007

The Kitchen

This is the kitchen of the house where I grew up. When my mother died Cheryl and I decided to fix up the house and move in, but as you can see, we’ve got a ways to go: it’s radical revision. This is the kitchen where my grandmother baked chocolate chip cookies and I licked the bowl. This is the kitchen where years later my grandmother tried to bake bread at 3:00 a.m. and couldn’t remember how. This is the kitchen where I carved pumpkins and played Monopoly. This is the kitchen where I read Peanuts every morning in the Chronicle and, later, the jazz and rock reviews by Ralph J. Gleason. This is the kitchen where my aunt slammed the door and I pretended she had slammed it on my finger and she got hysterical and my mother screamed and hit her so I couldn’t confess what had happened and had to sit for an hour with my hand in a bowl of ice water to keep down the nonexistent swelling. This is the kitchen where I paid my mother’s bills when her eyesight got too bad to write checks, and this is the kitchen where my stepfather broke his hip when he tried to kick the beach ball across the floor. This is the kitchen they would kick Cheryl and me out of when they had us over for dinner so they could cook in privacy and argue in privacy over who had put what in the salad dressing. This is the kitchen where the liquor cabinet was a shrine full of mysteries, not so much the liquor as the jars of ancient maraschino cherries and, especially, the Angostura bitters that I watched my mother grind into sugar cubes and that smelled like nothing else in my world. This is the kitchen where I washed the pots and pans (my main household chore) and wasted a Tahoe of water. This is the kitchen where I ate Cream of Wheat and chuck roast with prunes and soft-boiled and fried and poached and scrambled eggs and frozen “Italian vegetables” and frozen French fries and Chinese chicken salad and (the worst) German “wilted salad” and “tuna boats” on Fridays and (the best) burnt sugar cake and English muffins and sliced apples and watermelons and papayas and plantains and pineapples and pears and persimmons and pomegranates and white peaches and black plums.

1 comment:

Jilly said...

that is lovely -- thanks for sharing it