I believe in the power of the kitchen. With that being said, bring on the derogatory jokes. Contrary to popular belief, kitchens are used for more than just slavin’ over hot stoves, stackin’ sandwiches, and scrubbin’ dishes. Kitchens build communities. Demonstrate love. Relieve tension. Serve others
Last year, I lived with a sweet southern gal named Melissa, better known as MNM. She’s a couple years older, married, and much more domestic than me. She knew how to cook Shrimp Jambalaya…I knew how to make shrimp-flavored Ramen. She had her spatulas gathered in a drawer and mine were melting on the stove burner. I needed some help and little did I know, she was about to teach me a heap about life with a dash of cooking on the side.
In our kitchen, my rightful place was sitting on the counter or on the floor while Melissa was generally up doing something productive. Many times, we would cook, people watch through a window looking onto campus, talk, or do all three. I made mistakes and Melissa gently corrected me. We shared laughs but also shed tears. We ranted, solved the world’s problems, asked deep questions and giggled about the random ridiculousness that came out of my mouth. All of this was done in a room purposed for food prep but it taught us so much about ourselves and each other.
It started out as MNM and me making supper most nights of the week. As the semester progressed, it became more about getting to know each other and less about cooking lessons. We talked about everything from our childhood, families, and football to theology and infertility. Melissa and I had a rough semester dealing with personal hardships but our time together in the kitchen helped us through it. It’s amazing the tension you can get out while mixing dough for biscuits or chopping vegetables. Aside from the bonding that happened, our time together had another purpose…we fed people! We made everything from birthday cakes, breakfast, Cajun dishes, and guacamole to bacon, and let me tell you, that was only as an act of love.
MNM and I have moved on and out of that house but our relationship remains. I believe this can happen with any relationship. Why do you think media show FRIENDS sipping shakes in the kitchen, grandparents making Rice Krispie treats with their grandchildren, or flirtacious flour fights over a batch of cookies? Time spent in the kitchen brings people together. It’s inevitable and wonderful. It allows people to serve up some love while also dishing out great tasting food. The kitchen has the beautiful power to feed people’s hearts, stomachs, and minds. This I believe.
I wrote a “This I Believe” essay last semester and I’ve recently been reminded that kitchens are just about the greatest places on earth. Some individuals like to get to know people while consuming a meal. Others, while digesting…not this girl! I would rather chat while preparing said meal. It’s amazing how it brings people together. Hopefully this essay will help you understand my logic a bit more.