My favorite writing often involves exhaustive biographies. Of food. Or ingredients. Techniques. Pedigrees and heritage, old world and new, traditions and technologies. Broadly, these are classified as cultural histories, and they are my literary joys. Edutainment at its best. In so many mundane objects, items, their interactions, there are fascinating stories. Rather than facts, their truth, like all truth, is a fuzzy continent glimpsed like a foreign shore that peeks out of a fog bank through your telescope as you watch from a rolling deck.
Many mediocre, and a few great, books and pages have been written, words
spilled on the battlefield of ideas and attention on the household nexus, that
venerable and literal hearthstone, the kitchen. It is the site of most of our
activity, where we gather around, cooking and cleaning, preparing, putting
away, organizing, and ordering. It is our greatest tool chest, holding more
than almost any box, shed, or garage ever could, both literally and metaphorically.
It is a site of transformation, of rituals and customs and their crossings, of death and renewal, or creativity and
artistry just as much as of myth and lore. It has fascinated me since I first
remember. It regularly obsesses me now. Despite what has been said, it’s placement at
the intersection of everything opens it up to infinite roads, where anything and
Maybe this will be nothing, another tossed off idea, never followed upon. Maybe
it will be gathered up again by some future version of myself. Or maybe, it’s
not all half-baked…