As I sit at my little kitchen table, I am overcome with the urge to cook a nutritious meal of brown rice with vegetables sprinkled with freshly-grated parmesan cheese and to bake some banana-chocolate-pecan-bran muffins. I can smell the aromas of the vegetables releasing their juices and letting their distinct and unique flavors mingle with one another as I gently stir them in the pan. The scent of roasting pecans and melting chocolate waft through the cracks of the oven. I want to light a candle this icy cold evening and invite a few friends to enjoy the meal with a glass of Bordeaux. Then reality smacks me in the face: it’s almost finals week.
I do in fact cook a meal this evening and decide to consciously think of every ingredient I am adding, of its origins and how it reacts with the other flavors. Instead of adding a whole myriad of seasonings as I usually do, it seems oddly important to keep the recipe simple. Just tomatoes, fresh basil, a garlic clove, olive oil, and some whole grain pasta.
I start thinking of my role as a woman in society and my attraction to all that is related to the kitchen. Is this a result of culture or is this a natural phenomenon? Culture versus nature— my thoughts rush back to our Ecofeminism class. As I daydream, I realize with a pang that our last class together is fast approaching. So instead of rushing downstairs to get my notes or a book while simultaneously considering the global implications of all the problems in our society, I decide to put my frenzied thoughts aside for a moment and approach the collection of cookware shoved in a small cabinet in my college apartment.
As I bring the spaghetti sauce to a simmer, my thoughts lazily wander to “womanism” by Layli Phillips and this just leads me right back to Audre Lorde’s “the erotic”. My mind is usually zapping with static images and sounds rushing from one thought or feeling to the next. I breathe in deeply and embrace what I am doing at that instance. An image of a 50’s housewife flits through my thoughts. I cringe but then realize- why does that matter? I am happy and plus, “there is no alternative to food” as one of our classmates so eloquently stated a few weeks ago. So while doing a “chore” I might as well enjoy the process of providing nutrients for my body to generate energy.
If there something to remember in 50 years, it is that the the little things matter and bring joy. There is beauty and pleasure in most things we do each day. I don’t need to run away to a distant country to appreciate and be aware of the little charms in life such as the simple preparation of a wholesome meal. I don’t need to be in Toscany to appreciate my spaghetti bolognese or in France to savor a three course meal. I am here.