We had guests last night for our usual Wednesday night tapas (and I use that term loosely) night and I was reminded of an essay I wrote in Jay Paul's non-fiction writing class at Christopher Newport University (it was actually a college then) x years ago (I use x here not because I can't remember but I choose not to !). I was a "non-traditional" student (that means in my 30's not my 20's) in a class of fresh-faced 18-20 year olds, and our assignment was to write a short essay about a physical place that was special to us. Dr. Paul thought that it was a good idea for us to read our compositions to be critiqued by the class. You can only imagine my anxiety- I am a woman with two kids and a mortgage who had not written for years! Finally the day came and one by one my fellow students read their essays about walking on the beach, or sitting under a special tree, or gazing at nature from a mountain top. I read my essay last and it was a description of the kitchen in my tiny Hilton Village home (anyone who has lived in one of these 20's era duplexes knows what I am talking about!). It described the furnace in one corner and the hot water heater in another. I told how you had to open the oven door just right in order to keep your baked goods from falling on the floor, and its ugly linoleum floor. My essay was met with silence... then applause. I had taken my entire class into my tiny kitchen with the written word. My point? The point of my essay (and this post) was that no matter how ugly my kitchen, anytime we had people over, they congregated in the kitchen, because there is some kind of mysterious attraction that draws people to a working kitchen.
Back in my Hilton days, I didn't have much room, so I chalked some of this mystery to mere square footage, but that is not the case. Our new home has a good sized kitchen, an eat-in area and a fabulous (by my standards, not Martha's) dining room. My dining room is painted an inviting red, it is full of furniture pieces lovingly selected from Phoebus Auction Gallery and local antique shops, and my pride and joy - my Waterford crystal. So wouldn't you think that people would love to eat there? So would I, but instead they will balance their plates on their laps, and pull chairs from my beautiful dining room into the cramped eat-in adjacent to the kitchen. I really don't understand this, but I surrender to it. I thought about submitting this to Unsolved Mysteries but I decided to ask my readers instead if they could shed light on this (and ask if there is any hope that my guests will ever eat in my dining room!)
Here are some other food/kitchen mysteries that I would like solved:
1) Why does it always take me two tries to get the meringue right on my pie (the first one or two set the smoke alarm off!)
2) Why can my husband always tell me what he doesn't want for dinner and never what he does want?
3) Why do I always crave oysters, ...or grapefruit ...or asparagus when it is not in season?
4) Why can you never buy a ripe pear anymore?
There's a start. Solve my food/kitchen mysteries or add your own. I'll cue the scary music!