This kitchen. Oh, this green kitchen.
This is the house in which I lived alone for three years. When I first walked into this lovely apartment, the upper floor of a home at the top of Queen Anne, I knew that I wanted to say yes to it within five minutes. Truly, it was when I walked into the kitchen. I spotted the sunlight, the skylights emblazoning their shape on the warm tile floor, and I knew this was home. “I’ll take it,” I told the landlord. And then I looked at the rest of the house.
As soon as I moved in, this place felt like home. I never felt like I was renting. I just inhabited this space. I graded essays as I sat by the living room window. Instead of marking papers with blue pen, I looked out at the Olympic mountains stretching to the sky. I slept alone. I usually slept well, but there was an absence in the bed with me. After two years of being in Seattle, I finally left New York.
This is the home in which I lay in pain, for months on end, after my car accident. The night my sciatica pain flared in electric bolts and fire flashes down my leg, I had to crawl from the bedroom to the bathroom, just to seek some respite in the hot bath. It didn’t help, and it took me twenty minutes to crawl back to the bedroom.
The year afterward, I lay on the living room couch in throbbing pain. Every afternoon, I needed long naps after eating handfuls of soft bread. For months on end, I suffered, not knowing from where that pain emanated. When I found it was from eating gluten, I said yes to my new life. Every word, and every photograph, that appears on this website through today, has been crafted in this kitchen. Every bite of food I have cooked, every baked good I invented, every recipe I tested — they were all created in this kitchen.
And more importantly, for the last year, this has been my home with the Chef. This is the home in which we have made love, made the most memorable meals of my life, and made our lives together. A year ago this weekend, I asked him to move in with me, spontaneously. That question on Memorial Day 2006 was inspired by a frisee salad with a warm vinaigrette. And this year, on Memorial Day, we will move into our new home, the first house we have chosen together. He is going to make the salad again, for us.
Many of you have asked about the new house. I will save the full story for another piece. After all, that place will be the new home of this blog, and soon we will all feel familiar in its patches of light. I will say this, however: we are renting. The Chef and the writer? We can’t afford to buy a home. Yet. But the new home we are renting? It feels like a gift. It came through a friend, and we have been eager for weeks to live in its spaces. It is a small house, a cottage from the 1930s. There are hardwood floors, plenty of windows, a fireplace. Perhaps best of all — an enormous back yard. Gnarled apple trees, graceful pears, a wooden shed that is destined for chickens. Blueberry bushes, a raspberry patch, and grape vines straggling their way toward the sky. And a treehouse. We have a treehouse.
Along with all these gifts, one more. Our landlord, a dear man, is a master gardener here in Seattle, and he is going to mow the lawn and weed the garden as part of the rent. He is also going to help us start a vegetable garden, planted just outside the kitchen door.
We are going to start growing our own food.
And the kitchen in the new home? Enormous. New appliances. The brown tile floor gleams in the afternoon sunlight. We cannot wait to stand in front of the stove, dancing together, in our new home.
So we don’t feel sad, on the evening of our move. We are excited. Here we are, seven weeks before our wedding, starting our married life together in our new home. We have chosen each other, and we have chosen this home.
But before we say hello, we have to say goodbye.
There has been a spontaneous sharing around the internet: people sharing the insides of their refrigerators. I’ve been waiting until now to share ours, until just before we leave. Of course, the inside of the refrigerator looks quite different now. Mostly, it’s empty. But I thought this would be the best way to bid farewell to this kitchen. To share all its bounty.
(Click on the photo to go to my flickr account and see the photograph with notes, plus others.)
Wherever we go, we are bringing the people we love.
And so, this home of mine, and then ours, will be empty tomorrow. After the cleaning on Tuesday, it will revert back to a rental, a white space into which someone else will dream her life.
Goodbye, green kitchen. Thank you.