Skip to main content

Please come in: welcome to my kitchen

Honeys
The door is wide and warm, the kettle's on. The honey pourer that arrived here via China and the USA sits upon my Granny's plate, its edges softly frilled like grandmothers are, but often aren't. And the woman framed above who looks as if she might have slipped off the tip of William Russell Flint's sable brush, hasn't. I know; it seems as if nothing's as it really is. But it is. The child's drawing on the fridge is nothing else but itself. The gouge mark in the knotted pine wood floor proof of something heavy dropped between us, even if we struggle to remember what. And fruit is always fruit even when its cut.

There's laughter here. In the photos of how we used to be and, I like to think, captured from family, friends and even strangers like yourself in the butter yellow doors and drawers - invisible veins of music. And tears too. Our own. A daughter's pain. A friend's, in the instant she knew her man's betrayal and her shoulders dropped the way you'd watch a puppet fall when its strings are cut.


Taken in a vintage Kodak photo booth
Santa Barbara CA 1992
Sometimes the oven's or the summer's heat envelops us. Sometimes a season's morning chill makes us tiptoe across the room past the cold slices of glass, looking out on a wall of rough cut stone, a meagre persistence of moss below glowing emerald in the winter sun.

A black cat stretches here. Goes out. Comes in and leaves her muddy paw prints on the hand-made table, though its size and weight bely that phrase, the slabs of pink beech and squarely jointed legs, body-made perhaps.

The pendulum of the electronic clock mimes a tick, a tock: its swing a measurement of time that metronomes our hearts, our breath, when we are calm. Falls silent when things are broken, cracked: a plate, a forgotten promise, a glass salt pot. Regains its voice when we dance around the room, the cellar's dark air beneath our feet where wine is stored and brought up and made to sing 
in crystal and drunk. 
Garden bell from Villa les
Marronniers, Antibes.

When you come to leave take the back door, the one that opens to trees, past the photo of men who worked on this farm a hundred years ago. Their faces are inscrutable, obeying a call to pose, their real lives hidden like the faint traces of dreams. Which this life you've just walked through might seem to you: a mismatched congregation of effects. Like that iron bell, beside the carved bowl of knobbled gourds, engraved with a number 10.  But things are usually simpler than you think: the number on a street in France where we once lived and lost ourselves a while. When we ring the bell we find ourselves again. 

Stories breathe between these walls. This is where each day, over coffee sweet and strong, another one begins. 

Hungry Writer Prompt
Write about getting lost. And getting found.

Fruit, Coffee by Tony Crosse 2002


Popular posts from this blog

Pie, pie glorious pie

So often when we talk about food we are talking about family. In fact that was how the hungry writer blog began, nearly six years ago: weekly memories or life stories linked by the theme of food. Food is nurture and love. It can be celebration and anxiety too. It can also be a battleground, as the parents of young children know so intimately! Which is rather a satisfying segue into the family featuring in this week's blogpost: The Radfords. Because if anyone understands the feeding of children, really, really understands, it has to be Sue Radford who, with her husband, Noel, has 19 children. You can read about the family on their website but don't rush off yet as what I really want to talk about is pie. And specifically Radford's pies.
Noel Radford has been a baker for 25 years and opened his own bakery in 1999 in Heysham, Lancashire and makes pies with locally sourced ingredients. That, along with his skill as a master baker, means that the pictures of the 'filled to t…

Eat, laugh, cry, remember: Baked Camembert

Once, on a holiday in Malta, I dressed Tony up in my gypsy skirt and stretchy white vest, used two satsumas for breasts and made up his eyes and lips with the brightest colours I had with me. Then I took a photograph. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact he seemed quite tickled by the fuss and attention to detail, but the quantity of rosé we’d shared at Snoopy’s restaurant on the seafront in Sliema earlier in the evening might have had something to do with that.

This was 1988. There were no digital cameras for instant viewing (and, praise be, instant deletion). The only instant photographs at the time came courtesy of Polaroid, with their packages of square film and box-like cameras, and slid out of the front of the machine on shiny thick card that everyone huddled over and watched develop. But they tended to be party cameras, appearing at Christmas, birthdays, engagements. You captured your holiday photos on a proper camera, one you had to load and feed film into, then unload and drop off…

The Mythic Biscuit: Oreos

My childhood biscuits were mainly plain but had lovely names: Marie, Nice, Rich Tea. Quiet biscuits. The kind of biscuits that would never interrupt a conversation. Polite, not pushy. At the other end of the spectrum, and only irregularly present, probably a result of practical economics, were cheeky Jammy Dodgers, irritable Garibaldis, and self-contented and reliable Bourbons. And even more irregularly, the flashy inhabitants of a Christmas Box of Biscuits: Pink Wafers. I ate them at the same time as not liking them very much, a bit like Miss World Contestants in sparkly dresses, too much eye make-up and a saccharine idea of world peace. 
I'm in the mood to think, and personify, 'biscuits' because the lovely team at Oreo sent me some samples of their new Oreo Thins. I hadn't heard of Oreos until the early 1990s when a friend asked if I would bring him back a packet from a Florida holiday. I forgot and pretended I couldn't find them. 'But they're everywher…