One of my teachers once said to me, “look around your home, and see, really see, what you are devoted to.”
It is clear to me that I am devoted to the deep, ancestral, and transient threshold magic of growing, creating, and crafting beautiful food to feed and nourish those I love. Food matters to me. Cooking is the grace note that reverberates through our lives.
Preparing nourishing and delicious homemade food for my family is a most sacred act. Probably one of the most sacred and magical things I do with my life, and life force.
It is devotion and love; magic and craft; and communion with the earth, water, sky, and sun where we live. Immanence. Vegetables and ingredients are carefully weighed and turned in my hands, selected from the garden or the market, to blend into just the right marriage of flavors. I inhale, and delight in their scent and their color, and explore their textures with my fingers.
Spoons and rolling pins from my grandmothers, worn with time and passed through many hands, stir my cauldrons on my stove and spread dough on the warm wooden counter of my kitchen island. An island which has become, over time, its own altar. Spices and herbs chosen carefully, and blessed with breath and prayer, are stirred and roasted into meals made “just so,” with a particular loved one in mind. Plates of baked goods and food warm my table for my beloveds, and become a time-honored thread in the tapestry of tradition for holidays and gatherings, and the sweetness of the turning seasons. All the while, incense, candles, and bowls of cool water adorn and bless my work in the altar that is my hearth, my home, my kitchen. The very heart of my home.
I have so much magic and gratitude for these small and impactful acts of love and devotion. Food is love. Food blesses family and friends as we gather. And cooking creates a precious container for the little acts of everyday living that mean so much to us, and creates beautiful memories that endure, long after we are gone. I will never, ever, forget my grandmother’s and mother’s hands moving on mine in the kitchen— teaching me how to tell when the sauce is thickened when the spoon glides through the liquid just so, or how shaggy or smooth the dough should be to get the perfect result. Their recipes and love of food and cooking are carried in my blood, so reflexive now that I rarely need to consult the shelf of cookbooks where hand-written recipes dance in the margins.
There really are no “insignificant” little things. To me, they mean the most. If I cook for you, it means that I love you, and I am giving you the very best work of my hearth and hands to nourish and sustain you. It is intimate. I am blending a little of me with a little of you, and a lot of my heart.