Just sprouted – the new Bijouxs kitchen awaits. But, what lessons will this new kitchen bring? A reflection on kitchen lessons yield a recipe, always a little jewel.
The ‘in-between days’, that stretched into many months – that is, how I define the time in which I was without a kitchen of my own. There is nothing like a break from routine plus a change of scene to set the wheels in motion. During this ‘in-between time’ I read – and no surprise, books that involved cooking, however not cookbooks proper, that prompted reflections on how and why I cook.
Of course, books by M.F.K Fisher were on the reading list, especially meaningful was a chapter from from As They Were, Two Kitchens in Provence. Here the author shares the importance of kitchens in her own life, defining them as lodestars, guiding lights, and goes on to say “anything can be a lodestar in a person’s life, I suppose, and for some fortunates like me, the Kitchen serves well. Often the real influence of a lodestar is half understood, or partly unsuspected, but with a little reflection it grows clear to me that kitchens have always played a mysterious part in my shaping…” I too feel my life has been shaped and time marked by the kitchens I have known.
Do you remember your first and very own kitchen? One that you cared for and cultivated without the oversee or interference of others? My first kitchen qualifies as a lodestar, where my cooking life began and the lessons now become clear.
Out on my own during my last teenage year, I met my first kitchen. Bright and clean, outfitted with robin’s egg blue cabinets and white counters, part of a very small over-the garage apartment, cared for and watched over by the loving couple who lived in the front house. After I got over being scared and wiped away some teenage tears, a quiet internal voice said, “Come on Lynn Marie.” I lined the stairway leading to the front door with small pots of cheerful primroses, got in the kitchen and made it my own.
At first the kitchen fare was basic, a true child of my generation where health food was the ‘trend du jour’, I crafted hybrids of the tastes I loved. Salads fit the bill perfectly. I could swing by the top-notch health food store and find freshly baked whole wheat bread, herbal teas to drink and select from pallets of fresh sprouts for salads or sandwiches. I always have adored the diminutive nature of sprouts – tiny, crunchy gems, so sweet and full of life.
I have been concocting sprout salads for so long, often savoring them in quiet solitude, as they are not the sort of salad that guests crave, or that any have ever asked me to prepare. With inspiration from the cookbook Plenty More, in which I was pleased to see a duo of sprout salad recipes, I took a cue to add toasted cumin seed to my usual organic apple cider vinegar-based dressing. Beautiful radishes from local Blue Sky organic farms were echoed again in the radish sprouts, along with a bit of sweet crunch from shards of carrot.
My newest kitchen recalls my first, the window over the sink allows brilliant sun to stream in as I cook. As I am starting off in a new locale, I could do well to remind myself of the lessons I learned in kitchen number one. My first kitchen taught me to cook and care for myself – independent of anyone else, a kind of healthy self-care grew – i.e. feeding yourself as if you were someone you really loved. My love of food and cooking of course grew, sharing meals with friends, then family, and finally sharing here what I treasure most, my little jewel collection of recipes.