Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Year with the Kitchen Widow

Once upon a time, there was a romance, a marriage, a mortgage, and three pregnancies. There were changes in jobs, changes in finances, and changes in the world. Yet there was also a constant, through all the moments of joy and moments of difficulty, and the lives in this relationship were defined by that constant: the kitchen.

I started this blog a year ago this month to address that constant, on my own terms. Kitchens and food have become my roots, whereas before they were, perhaps, like a bed of autumn leaves: visible and noticeable, but not part of any foundation.

The adjustment to a world of food has been a path I have loved and despised. It has brought out the very best in me, and illuminated the very worst. It has brought me closer to my husband emotionally, although it generally keeps us apart physically. It has carried us to the absolute pinnacle of cuisine, in our evening at the French Laundry, and has kept us humble in our financial attachment to pasta with red sauce.

The best food writers will tell you, through their masterful command of the language and the cuisine, that food is profound in its ability to unite, impress, satisfy, nourish and inspire. If these same writers have knowledge of the business, they will likely say the same about being in kitchens, while in the same breath they bemoan the business' tendency to frustrate, demoralize, antagonize and destroy. Both are true. It is finding a balance that tips toward the inspirational that keeps chefs coming back for more.

I have not sought here to be a great food writer; my knowledge of food -- the ingredients, trends and history -- is passable, at best. What I have sought to do is make sense of the world of kitchens that is our gravity, and perhaps stretch my writing muscle while I am at it. I enjoy this outlet and the fact that Chef Matt does not mind that I parade our exploits with food and his job around the digital universe.

We are not the sort of kitchen royalty that makes it into books and television shows; our story is not uncommon enough. But as long as Matt continues to be a chef, and as long as I try to be a writer, I will use this medium to tease out the elements of unity, frustration, satisfaction and destruction that characterize our lives in kitchens. It is who we are, even if it is not fodder for a Lifetime original movie.

Whoever you are out there, thank you for reading. As long as you remain, I will press on.

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