We unpacked our kitchen from boxes today.
What have we gotten ourselves into?
Carpenter genius and old friend Doug showed up to save us.
We have instructions from IKEA. So all is good.
But how does one create a kitchen from instructions?
The ancient text says, “Life is food. Sink into fatness!”
Will we be able to actually find things in these cupboards? I want to know.
Will there be Cream of Tartar when Snickerdoodles call to us at midnight?
Candles when a birthday boy shows up unannounced?
This is the first pantry we’ve had since Nome, Alaska!
That one big enough to store the year’s provisions from the September barge.
This one will be raided for chocolate.
This tiny kitchen is the biggest we’ve had for awhile.
But small enough we can’t avoid each other over stir-fry at the end of a bad day.
Here we’ll drink rainwater from our roof and root beer we made with the grandkids
And apple cider squeezed from the orchard we have in pots, still unplanted.
In our kitchen we’ll discuss politics, a friend’s cancer diagnosis and the rude neighbor, over egg whites.
We’ll make waffles for dinner when we don’t feel gourmet.
By the oven we’ll hug when loneliness is nye and disappear into comfort food
We’ll revel with the curious grandchild when she clears the lower shelves of pots
And ride and spins ‘round and ‘round on the carousel. Her parents will never know.
Local oatmeal and yogurt with cranberries we picked and dried from Washington bogs
Will be our morning habit.
We’ll celebrate old recipes handwritten by our Mother Chefs:
Betty’s Chocolate Chippers and Maribeth’s First United Methodist Casserole.
At Christmas, English muffins will cover the counter
Made of sourdough from an Inuit baker in Shishmaref
Where, as we move from 9 months of foreign kitchens,
They are relocating the village because of the rising seas of climate injustice.
In this kitchen we’ll prepare food born of community and remember eating comes with conscience.
In the sink we’ll wash radish and carrot root of garden soil.
We’ll peel Yukon Gold and plan our next radical adventure.
We’ll dine with local farmers on the food of their labor:
Mostly fair traded, mostly from closeby.
But let’s be honest. We love the occasional Cheeto
And we eat Oreos without checking the label for cholesterol content or GMOs.
Cooking is messy. How many times will we wipe salsa fixings and guacamole from the floor?
Remember the plates we got from the immigrant Vietnamese potter at the Scandinavian Festival?
Nancy and the boys brought them to our Boise kitchen one Christmas.
They rolled the car crossing the Blues!
Only one of the plates broke and everyone was OK.
As we move in, we’ll stack those in the cupboard with the glass doors
So we can see from whence we’ve come:
The red You’re Special Today plate and the bowls thrown on Erin’s wheel
That she will have to decide whether to keep or take to Good Will when they finally pack up our things.
We’ll probably not cook King crabs or walrus flipper in this kitchen
Or eat spoon bread with Grandma and Grampa again. But who knows?
February 14 we’ll do our state birthday with an Oregon-shaped cake,
In August receive O Henry peaches for canning.
Through our kitchen window we’ll see friends coming to the door
Bearing warm brownies, fresh sauerkraut
And the fruitcake we’ll feed to the chickens as soon as our visitors go.
We’ll do refried beans, twice-cooked pork and twice-baked potatoes
Remembering there’s always another chance at life, and yet.
In this microwave our care giver will warm up the meals-on-wheels.
On the recycled counter our children will set out dishes the community brings for our memorials.
Leaning on the myrtle wood they’ll play 2 truths and a lie about us.
They will weep and be honest, mourn and dance.
They’ll be proud here and kind here, and naughty and speechless.
And finally become the grown-ups of the clan, such as it is.
Over root beer floats and hummus, they’ll start building new lives without us.
Many traditions envision the good life as a great banquet where all are welcome
If you show up, you’ll taste recipes, repeat the culinary story and be full.
If you don’t show up? We will miss you.
Either way, it’s dinner time.