A Valentine to My Kitchen

Some of my friends have “man caves.” Converted garages, bonus rooms, dens, workout rooms and tool-sheds where wives and children tread lightly; places where an exasperated male can retreat to play a video game, take a hit of weed, read a magazine or god knows what else… (I’ve never actually been in one, so this is all just speculation.)

For me, that function is performed by the kitchen. When the children have me pulling out my hair or my wife is angry at me for some perceived transgression, I head for the stove and begin preparing some sauce destined for an as-yet-determined fate, or tossing together flour and yeast with vague baking intentions. Lighting a flame beneath a weighty pan is, for me, more satisfying than lifting weights, riding a mountain bike, playing fantasy football or meeting buddies for a drink.

Of course, the kitchen being the central gathering point of the house, I have to temper my territorial impulses somewhat. From time to time I’ve been caught scowling at my spouse or reprimanding a kid for the innocent breach of having entered the kitchen when I’m having me-time. “But Dad, I’m hungry.”

Beyond the fact that it serves as a sanctuary, there are many other reasons I feel amorous when I think about my kitchen. This Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d reflect on a few of them.

I love my kitchen because:

• It’s where the wine is.
• It fills in sunlight each the morning, with hummingbirds diving and arcing outside the window.
• I’ve got really good knives. Wielding really sharp knives is even better than a video game, allowing a man/boy to connect with his inner pirate/samurai.
• Where else can I play with fire?
• I can put the good things up really high where the kids can’t reach.
• It creates the illusion of selflessness — Friend: “That’s so amazing you cook all the meals for your family.” Me: “I guess I’ve always been a giving kind of person.”
• Browse my kitchen and you’ll find a tub of lard, various cheeses and salumi, heirloom tomatoes, blood oranges, imported vinegars and olive oils, farm eggs, butter-top cream, assorted frozen sausages and pork products.
• You will not find quinoa, soy cheese, reduced-fat anything, margarine, aerosol oils, frozen entrees, imitation-anything, shiny apples from Peru, eggs with dates stamped on them.
• It’s got lots of cupboard space for those bulky ethnic cooking vessels I almost never use (tagine, Japanese cast-iron pot, Chinese clay pot, paella pan, etc.)
• There’s a nifty adjoining laundry room where I can hide from the kids.
• A few ingredients, a little heat, and I can make the whole house smell good.
• It was through the kitchen that I won many a heart, including my wife’s.

Don’t forget your kitchen this Valentine’s Day. And cook something nice for the one you love. Cheers.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Gaskin
    Feb 14, 2011 @ 02:35:55

    okay, I’ll do that…I also love being in my kitchen…with wine…and people are ALWAYS coming in there needing to do something…like eat…God forbid…and one of my dogs lays in the middle of the kitchen…an absolute FORBIDDEN prospect for many members of this family 😉


  2. mom
    Feb 14, 2011 @ 19:19:29

    I feel the same about my kitchen. I’ve already made crab cakes with remoulade and pea soup [it’s raining].


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