The Kitchen: Alchemy

Alchemy: a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.

In a poem entitled “Green Beans and Yellow” Mary Oliver declares the surprising but true: “as though it were an ordinary thing, we eat the blessed earth.”  It’s true.  All of us, every day, perhaps several times a day, eat the blessed earth.  This eating, however, requires a process, requires a transformation that most often happens out of the combining and creating of someone or someones in The Kitchen.

The Kitchen is the place where out of necessity or out of love or some mix of both we human beings work magic.  It is a magic of creation as we take the products of sky, earth and sea and begin to work with them and from them to call forth things that we know will be nourishing to mind, body and soul.  It is a magic of combination as we learn and pass on the kinds of things to bring together which soothe the human being through taste and smell but which also work a nutritional miracle: the miracle of supplying on the sub microscopic level those things which tired, drained bodies need to rebuild themselves.

The Kitchen is also the place where amazing transformations take place.  Yes, an ugly and unappealing sweet potato can be transformed into this luscious, rusty red, creamy and sweet dish that can be the equivalent for the taste buds and the stomach of a warm and friendly old blanket on a cold and lonely night.  More than that, The Kitchen is our magical cauldron where an amazing potion is created, made not only of foods and drinks, of tastes and smells, but of people, of care, of loves, of necessity, of aches and pains, of desire, of deep grief and overpowering joy.  The gifted cook enters this space and becomes the alchemist who brings together all of these unsuspecting elements and has the capacity for such a work that souls entering there, pausing there, refreshing there, leave with a gold that cannot be spent except in the interchanges of human hearts.

Enter The Kitchen today, and make some magic.

Bob Patrick

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