Today’s post is an essay and the photos are just some shots from food found in the dorms of a culinary school. Enjoy.
Gathering Around Green Granite
In the center of my mom’s kitchen is an island. The island is eight feet by four feet and stands four and half feet off the ground and the surface, that I have grown so fond of, is a large slab of green granite. This island hosts many weights. The ever-growing stacks of mail at one end, the bags of perpetual groceries on the other, and in the middle there are laptops, cutting boards, knives, the occasional fat yellow tabby cat, but what stands out the most is not touchable, yet still more palpable than the tangible, constant and omnipresent in a kitchen whose walls harmonize with the towering oaks of my hometown—Community.
The green granite, vivid in my thoughts, is the cornerstone of my family. A single memory does not do it justice, for countless breakfasts, lunches, and dinners have been prepared on this stone that is more entertainer than prep table. Brioche cinnamon buns, chocolate pavlova, mom’s macaroni and cheese, all these foods, made once, twice, or a hundred times have engraved a memory into the granite, and each time food is prepared, we gather around it. I cannot think of an emotion that the granite has not bared witness to, however, I will choose one to center my focus around. Anticipation. The rolls have baked and the ricotta cardamom glaze is drizzled over, my mom smears vanilla bean whipped cream across the pavlova and it is strewn with fresh berries, and the macaroni and cheese bubbles and steams the aroma of comfort like a hearth made for the soul. I pace, back and forth, left and right, up and down, and the dog looks at me, like I am the seven-month-old puppy looking for nothing more than a nibble. I see the white plates, the gleam of the serving spoons, the hues of color projected from the food, but in the background sits that green granite, selflessly offering the items I can hardly wait to devour, solidifying its role as a pillar of support in our lives.
I will always remember my mom’s kitchen. When I feel homesick, I will remember the green walls, the hood fan that I always hit my forehead on, the tsunami of dishes that occurs when my mom and I embark on culinary adventures, but that wondrous green granite will forever be at the center of those memories. How a section of stone ever came to be a symbol of what I hold most dear is quite honestly beyond me. It goes beyond the memory of taste, or smell, and it brings about the overwhelming, chest-tightening feeling of what food is to me. It is my passion, it is a love that I share with my family, and it is how I communicate with people.