The Kitchen


Many people say that the kitchen is the heart and soul of every home.

I agree.

It’s a place where magic and alchemy occur on a regular basis.

My kitchen is six feet by six feet with limited counter space. I am guaranteed to break something every time I cook. The magic comes and goes, depending on the precariousness of the dishes, bowls, containers, silverware, people and dogs involved. But, I’ve had great successes in my kitchen. Banana wine, blueberry wine, strawberry wine, wedding cakes, Thanksgiving meals. Cookies, pies, juice. Seaweed. Quinoa. Lots and lots of quinoa.

And cheese.

Cheese, like wine, is the ultimate in alchemy. A complete transformation of a single substance under the guidance of whispered promises, heat, and pinches of ground up secrets, magic powders, and hopeful wishes.

The bad thing about making cheese when you are single and living alone, is that there’s no one else around to clean the dishes. And so they pile up. In the very small sink in your very small kitchen.

I better go on a date soon.

This is getting ridiculous.

What sort of person writes a travel/ dating blog without traveling or dating?

Powerslut was right all those months ago. I should’ve slept my way across the country instead of dating. It would be a much shorter project. With a lot less conversation.

At this rate, I’ll be in my seventies by the time I finish my social experiment. There are extreme daters much more agile than I, who have run circles around me already.

I’m not running. I’m not jogging. I’m not walking. I’m not even limping. I’m crawling to the finish line. On two skinned knees. And hands burnt from juggling molten milk stuff in the palm of my leaky kitchen gloves.

Despite my grand ambitions to date across the country and make hard cheeses, I’ll never be more than a beginner in my 6 foot by 6 foot kitchen with limited counter space.

Perhaps it is a metaphor for life. Even comfort can be uncomfortable, given the proper circumstance, such as precariously stacked pots and pans filled with very hot whey.

I’ve thinking about changing the name of this blog from “50 Dates in 50 States” to “Halfway Down the Bunny Trail,” since I am a beginner. Always. At all things. Even with the things I do well.

The mozzarella turned out, but I destroyed a batch of instant brownies as it was setting. There were only three ingredients needed for the brownie mix. I guess I chose the wrong three.

Cooking is a lesson in humility.

So is dating. And writing. And living.

Everyone has a story to tell and in this digital universe. Sometimes it’s hard to hear one’s IMG_3981own voice above the collective din. These past couple of weeks, I’ve been wondering if it’s worth the fight. There are people doing what I do faster, better, with more aplomb, and nicer hair. There’s a lot of chatter. A lot of beauty. Too many insights to digest. And way too many words to speak. It’s a chaotic stew of stories.

But, I think about the last time I was in Peru. I sat in a ceremony with nine Shipibo curanderos, each singing their own song in high-pitched tones that cut through the thick night. At first it sounded a like a lyrical anarchy, each prayer on its own trajectory, never minding a single obstacle in its path. But as the night darkened and the songs grew, frogs and birds joined in, and sleep stood by on high alert, it all wove together in a tapestry of sound and I understood how the universe was sung into existence.

In Alaska, I sat in a room where a composer assigned tones to atmospheric rumblings and adjustments in the earth. In essence, it is planet’s song.

Maybe the digital din I sometimes worry about also comes together, all of us talking, telling our tales, and by doing so, singing the collective story of humanity. My story, your story, everyone’s story – a panel in the patchwork quilt of mankind, or mammal-kind, in the cozy bed of the history. Life on earth.

So, even if I stop telling my story, the story will still be told. Somehow.

And I do love the sound and sensation of typing on a key board. I always have.

I had a yoga teacher who I didn’t actually like very much. He loved talking about himself, especially when the class was holding hard poses. But he did say one thing that I still think about today. In a marathon, he said, the most interesting stories don’t belong to the people who finish first. They belong to the people who finish last.

The good thing about making cheese when you are single and living alone, besides foisting the cheese on friends and co-workers and forcing their approval, is that there’s no one else around to scrutinize how you clean your dishes or that you’ll leave them soaking in your little sink until you feel like to cleaning them.

The dog doesn’t care. Not one bit. But, she likes to listen to me talk.


2 thoughts on “The Kitchen

  1. You do make good cheese…
    And you write a wicked good blog too. I think, whatever the name, it would still be worth reading and, of course, a whole new identity could surface from change. It’s an interesting thought — I’ll still read it if it stays the same too.

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