I got to skype with my friend Emily today. I saw her face and heard her voice and we got to be all weird and make strange noises and catch up in the most comforting, girlfriendy way. It was the first time on this trip that I’ve really talked to someone at home other than my family, and it made me so happy. While I still have no desire to head back stateside anytime soon (still haven’t bought that return ticket), I’ve recently been feeling very nostalgic for my people.*
I miss my friends. All of you. And you know what else? I miss my kitchen.
If I could, right now, I’d cook you all dinner. I’d spend days browsing my brain and my favorite blogs for recipe ideas. I’d spend a morning and a handful of cash at the farmers’ market on fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and herbs and maybe a fancy bouquet of flowers. I’d spend hours in my kitchen, and I’d love every second of it, from the smell of onions and garlic cooking to the (delicious) mess I tend to make while baking. I’d try not to ruin my appetite by stealing nibbles here and there, basking in the glory of my frilly apron and the weight of my cast-iron skillet and the irrelevant details that I like to fret over.
I’d make a big, huge, green salad full of things that crunch and pop and grow from the earth. I’d fill a mason jar with homemade dressing, adjusting the ratios and pinches and dashes of ingredients like a science experiment. I’d make a big batch of grains – oh, what I would do for some quinoa right now! – and throw it together with more vegetables and maybe some slowly simmered chickpeas (a few of which would disappear into my mouth fresh from the pot) and simple flavors. The finished product would generously fill our bowls and our bellies and I’d selfishly be able to eat the leftovers for days.
I’d probably try my hand at fresh bread, which in this fantasy land would come out rustic and earthy and tasty, crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy within (unlike the weirdly shaped rocks that I’ve come up with in the past). We’d dip it in olive oil as we sat around with glasses of wine and I laughed at an inappropriate volume.
And of course there would be something sweet with which to end the night, maybe a cake or a pie laced with fresh fruit. Have I ever told you about the time I accidentally baked a raw dessert? This would go a little more smoothly than that. I’d force seconds on you (there’s a pushy
Jewish Irish Catholic mother living inside of me, you know): partially to get you to stay a bit longer, but mostly because feeding people is one of the most authentic ways I know to show them how much I love them and how much I just want to smother them with joy.
Someday I’d like to have a big long table in my backyard. Close to the vegetable garden for easy access, of course. Long and wooden and homey, always with room for another friend or relative or visitor or new acquaintance. Punctuated with fresh flowers in mason jars. I’d like to be the type of
cook host friend who can throw impromptu dinner parties, cook for a group with ease out of love and joy rather than stress or obligation. You’ll simply need to bring along a hearty appetite and a bit of conversation; maybe a story or two. You’re all welcome any time.
Until then, I’ll just travel my poor little self through Asia (boo hoo), missing my own pots and pans and chewy cookies and vegetables that are safe to eat raw, as my eyes and my taste buds and my heart get a chance to see what the world has to offer. Hopefully, once I finally sit down to the table, I’ll have some stories of my own to share.
(Inspiration and images via Kinfolk; and, yes, I’d like a subscription for my birthday.)
*Aside from Mariel, of course, who is currently with me and is my ultimate people, but that goes without saying, I think.