By My Kitchen Fire
I have always wanted a stone fireplace in my kitchen, a romantic hearth I could curl up next to, cradling a steaming mug of coffee and nestled in my big comfy chair. I’d tuck my feet under the folds of my robe while the fire crackled and popped, sending off tendrils of fragrant smoke. And of course, the side table would sport a stack of cookbooks, marked to the pages of recipes I wanted to try.
This kitchen with the fire isn’t big. It’s a cozy room with a fireplace alcove, creaky wood floors and breezy windows overlooking a backyard of lush shade grass and ferns and ancient trees that have lived through a century of storms. Inside, copper pots and spice jars gleam from a shelf over my stove. My hundreds of cherished cookbooks, collected over a lifetime of tastes and flavors and family travels, line the walls on barn board shelves. Bowls of fresh apples and home-baked breads share space with the scarred cutting board on my marble-topped island.
I imagine my Grandma Vi, soaking in the warmth of the kitchen fire with me and sharing a laugh or a cry. She’d experience my life again, for real, instead of only in my thoughts and dreams. We had a special connection, she and I. She got me. Understood my need to create, to keep myself inspired. She knew how important it was to keep dreaming, to keep trying new things . . . to stay restless.
None of my kitchens has ever had that cozy fireplace and sitting area I dream of, but they have been blessed by all the family noise and the great meals and the endless love and memories of a life lived well.
By the Kitchen Fire is my culinary love story.