I have a thing for the kitchen. 

When I say that, you might think I have a beautiful kitchen. An open-concept-subway-tile-pull-out-drawer-spacious-island kitchen.

That, my friend, is where you’d be wrong.

My kitchen is small, way too small. A hallway really. A hallway with a door. My house is old and it appears the kitchen was last redone when cooking was to be tasted, not seen. Why someone would be of that opinion is beyond me. Maybe they really just wanted to keep the sounds and fragrances and textures all to themselves. As I do. Spending hours and hours tucked away. Slicing, dicing, pickling, baking, sauteéing, julienning, and, of course, snacking.

Food is my entertainment. 

I know, I know, that is what people say after a transformation, like “food was my entertainment until I learned to eat well” But does it have to be one or the other? Can I know the purpose of food—to fuel our bodies—but still enjoy every step to get me to the end result? 

Yes. Yes, I can.

This means I grow my own food and eat chips from the store. I’ll happily spend a day making gnocchi from scratch and grinding basil I’ve grown for the pesto to top them. Or, I’ll pick up a pizza and indulge in every bite. It’s all good to me. I try to eat healthy, but…well… you know. Everything in moderation, even moderation, as the saying goes. 

Next recipe to perfect: Chili for a neighborhood cook off. The challenge has got me pondering when a recipe becomes your own. I mean, really, who owns cooking? Isn’t it all a bunch of people in confined spaces—some large and stunning, others in need of a remodel—experimenting with all things edible? Can someone say “This is my chili recipe” when it every one is a combination of beans and tomatoes and onions and green peppers?

Yes. Yes, they can. 

Creativity, memories, sustenance, and productivity all blend together in my kitchen hallway. A bunch of goodness all stirred together, which is what makes it all so magical.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cooking to do. Today I’m making peppermint patties and date bars, I’ll let you know how it goes. . . 

~ Mali