Is anyone in the mood for food? Head for the kitchen for a bit of chopping and chatting, cookery and cuisine in a room four walls square with one window over the sink and another next to the breakfast table. At first glance, it's a plain and simple space, but looking closer, it shows itself as full-bodied and complex.
"A" is for appliances--BIG ONES and small. Refrigerator/freezer, stove, and dishwasher anchor the room in all their bulky magnificence. Toaster, bread machine, microwave, coffee maker, blender, and Crock-Pot jostle for space upon the countertops. Electrical marvels one and all which communicate with us through beeps and buzzes.
There are clocks aplenty marking the time, so there's no reason at all to be late to lunch! Those on stove, microwave, and coffee pot glow greenly from tiny windows--in dark of night looking almost as if they could be the disguised eyes of aliens come to observe us! Only the wall clock has a familiar face and hands.
"Rough and ready" pots and pans, unafraid to face the heat, stand poised for duty at a moment's notice, waiting to ride the range (so to speak!).
Fine china and crystal, "dressed for success" in elegant and enduring patterns, anticipate either an intimate, candlelight meal or a bustling, bountiful holiday feast.
Like camel caravans trekking the ancient spice routes, jars laden with cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, and coriander march along pantry shelves in orderly lines. They conjure exotic visions of nomadic traders, searing deserts, and Mediterranean mysteries.
Boil, broil...steam, saute'...roast, toast...bake, baste...fry and grill. It's an epicurean extravaganza! So much testing and tasting going on!
On parade are cakes swathed in thick, creamy icing; crumbly cookies cooling on racks; pies bubbling out warm sweetness; moist and filling muffins; and fragrant, crusty breads. Flour Power! Beating up batter and rolling out memories.
Not all is breath-less and inanimate here, though. A fur-garbed feline lounges like a '40's movie queen in the sun's spotlight upon the windowsill. Tail-thumping Fido, the family hound, waits hungry-eyed under the table, praying his doggie petitions for someone to hold out the palm of largesse in his direction. If not favored with that, he would be happy with a fallen morsel or two, like manna from above. And then, we dare not think--is there, perhaps, a stray, gray mouse under the sink?
What really "makes" a kitchen, however, is neither the gadgets nor the gastronomy. It is the people: fathers, mothers, children, neighbors, grandpas and grandmas--all the faces of those dear to us. The hearty welcome, spoken and unspoken, draws family and friends to this place of light, warmth, sizzling sounds...and smells. Ahhhhhh--those seductive, "come hither" aromas! And so many flavors to savor--tongue tantalizing, tummy tickling culinary delights. Just one more taste! We don't want anything to go to waste!
Here there is nourishment for both body and soul. Grievances are aired, problems laid bare, jokes shared. Advice is given, decisions are made, and reconciliations reached. It is by turns a confessional, a counselor's office, a social club, a prayer chapel, an inquiry meeting, a bargaining board. All in that four-walls-square, plain and simple room.
A kitchen is the hub, the heart, of many a home, dishing out, with generous hand, satisfying portions of laughter, of love, of life...finger lickin', lip smackin' LIFE!
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