A Note From the Chef
All of us who love food know that it’s so much more than simply fuel for the body. If that were the case, we would simply swallow a little purple pill and be done with it – and one of life’s greatest pleasures would go down with it. Though it may seem like I’m stating the obvious, preparing, eating and sharing food is an ageless practice that spans across all cultural and economic groups.
Today there is a show on PBS that has taken TV entertainment by storm – Downton Abby. In this British series set in the early 1900’s when class distinction was most clearly defined, it seems the aristocracy of this post – Edwardian age did little more than dress for dinner and chat (gossip) about the people and news in their world. The servants, who were responsible for preparing and serving the meal did much the same around their downstairs table, only they seemed to have more fun. They were cultivating kitchen gardens, going into town shopping for food, and spending endless hours in preparation that gave them instant satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment – and leftovers.
From the kitchens of grand estates to humble campfires of indigenous people around the globe, the art of preparing and sharing a meal is built into our DNA. And I would venture to guess that the nourishment we gain from this practice has less to do with the food we eat and more to do with the people, ideas and stories we share around the “table”.
Growing up in a large Italian family, the kitchen was the hub of activity in our household. The kitchen table was rarely empty. It was always cluttered with food being prepared, family meals being eaten, or a steady stream of neighbors or relatives pulling up any empty chair and joining in.
For me, I wasn’t truly home until I entered the kitchen. Regardless of what was going on in my life, it was where I found solace. It nurtured my spirit as well as my body and that nourishment took root within me and led me to my life’s work. For my 5 siblings, they too took nourishment there and passed it on to their families, their clients, students and patients.
My parents, who are no longer alive, were brilliant at harvesting the gifts of the kitchen and extending them to us, have no idea the far reaching effects they nurtured or who have been touched and benefited from the solid foundation they built for their children and grandchildren. For each of us, in our own way has drank from it, eaten from it and used it to fortify our endeavours and contributions to society. That humble kitchen, in a small suburban town like any other, has feed more hearts than we can ever know.
These are the gifts, the legacy, that awaits anyone who enters this sacred space. This is why I choose to work there, so I may bring you there with me.
It is my honor to serve you,
Leave a comment below and tell me about your sacred space.
photo courtesy of Front Porch Republic
Beautiful, Silvia! I love the idea that the nourishment took root within you to create your life’s work! I’ve always found being in the kitchen meditative and sacred.
So true. The whole ritual around the preparing and enjoying meals is essential. Our rush, rush culture misses the point by trying to prepare faster, and get through the meal as if were a chore. It is a gift to have access to such abundance and nourishment. We should take the time to slow down and appreciate it. Well spoken, Silvia. Brava!
Thank you Elyse and Shana. Your comments are so welcomed.
My mum recently changed up her kitchen from one small room with a small table, knocking walls through so as to have one massive table.
It’s now always full, and sitting around it when I go home makes me feel SO nourished.
Thanks for this!
Congrats to your mom Marsha. And it’ll only get better.
I LOVE this…being from Hawaii, I come from a family that loves to cook, too — imagine, Phillipino dishes, Hawaiian food, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Japanese, Korean…the list is never-ending, really. And you BETTER get a second serving, otherwise you’re going to get a good scolding!! LOL.
Sounds like my kind of family. Very fun and welcoming.
Silvia I love this. I love to cook but I’ve been viewing it as a chore lately. I’m thinking a new routine is to get the kids back in the kitchen with me when I cook. It will make it more fun and not feel like it’s so much work.
You are so lucky to grow up in a kitchen like that. I can’t wait to learn more about you! xoxo
Good for you Melissa. You’ll find so many benefits to getting in the kitchen with your kids. I just finished an 8 day cooking camp with a 12 year old. We made food from 11 countries! The little girl had a blast…but the rest of the family missed having us in the kitchen and the food of course. When there’s joyful cooking…everyone benefits.
I’ll be doing a series of blog posts about our international cooking adventures.
Great post!! I have to admit, I don’t cook as much as I’d like to, but when i do go home to visit my parents, it’s the same. Always mom cooking up my favorite filipino food as well as home made filipino snacks on the table ready and waiting to be eaten up!! 🙂
And I bet that feels so good Aimele. So the gift is so much more than simply the food, right?
Like Melissa, I love to cook but cooking for the kids after a long day at work has really sucked the joy out of it for me lately.
This was a really beautiful reminder of what I want to create for them, and how I want them to feel about home, family and food.
You’ve really inspired me to make getting my girls in the kitchen with me and having some fun with it a more regular practice. Thank you!!