Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Mother's Kitchen

There was nothing romantic, sentimental about my mother's kitchen. Built in the '70's, it reflected the time's prevailing attitudes - women weren't supposed to spend lots of time in the kitchen, and CheezWiz was food, anyway.

So her kitchen had elbow room for one, an 'L' shaped galley, and prep space provided by a floating island.

Regardless, she attemped ambitious meals, splattering cookbooks too close at hand, and melting Tupperware when absentmindedly she placed a piece on a still-warm, electric burner.

Afterwards, bowls empty, table clean, she'd wash the dishes and I would perch behind her on the island, both of us speaking to each other's reflections in the window over the sink.

We had big plans for me.


It's Monday night, a lifetime later, and I am making soup.

It's a meatball soup - or is it chowder - that my mom used to make, one of my favorites.

Full of herbs and veggies, there's some richness missing from it.

I call my nana for the recipe while I'm chopping leeks, and then my sister as I pour the broth over the now-translucent onions, but neither of them remember. They both want whatever recipe I come up with.

Chopped celery, shredded carrots, herbed meatballs, basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, a dollop of wine. Broth to lips...

Perhaps what's missing is my mother's touch. She's 3000 miles and an addled mind away from my new, spacious kitchen, in which there's enough room for both of us to chop, and chat, and, now both adults, tilt wine glasses toward our lips, toasting our uncertain futures.