April 17, 2021

COMPANIONS IN THE KITCHEN

Sharing the kitchen is an acquired skill—and I’ve found it to be a real joy!  Harriett was a great cook and loved to entertain but she had to have full control of her kitchen.  Plus, her annoying habit of washing up everything as she went so that her sink was sparkling and empty when she served a meal drove me nuts. It made everything so much simpler, she said—but somehow I considered the dirty bowls and pans a badge of honor.  Cleaning up afterward could be done at a more relaxed pace.

Once Heather and Patrick were adults, sharing the kitchen began to seem like a great option.  In this first photo—probably late 1990s—Heather and I were busily preparing for a Christmas open house at 159 King George Way.  I loved having her experience of catering to keep me on track as we prepared the food together.  She always knew the best ways to arrange everything on the table.  And she kept an eye on the table, replenishing any trays as needed.  That helped me have more time to visit with the guests!  She also prepared some wonderful meals for us at different places she lived in Nashville or Charlottesville—and sometimes I’d get to help her (although she didn’t really need it).

It’s also been fun to team up on cooking in other people’s kitchens.  This photo was one Thanksgiving when Patrick was in Orlando at seminary.  He and some other students were renting a large house with a swimming pool.  I drove down one year to spend Thanksgiving and stayed at their house.  We prepared a feast for a large group of friends who also couldn’t go home that holiday.  I baked some cakes and breads to take down. Here I’m in the kitchen with Monica as we carve the turkey I cooked that morning.  Others brought side dishes and we had a lovely dinner.

After Heather and Patrick were both married, I’ve really loved having Julia and Heather prepare their own favorite dishes for holiday meals together.  Just working together in the kitchen and talking as we go makes it even more fun.  And we’ve also had wonderful holiday meals in their own homes. It’s a joy to be chief cook and bottlewasher—and also to be a guest cooking assistant to others. 

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