I would write more if... (any excuse is a good excuse) there was a way around polishing and carving, agonizing about my grammar and worrying about my lack of pc. If I could stick to a framework or a theme instead of hopping around like a hare in a garden tasting a bit of this or that.
So, I guess my writing style is as random as my stint as a rock and roll gypsy.
So, what is the Chaos Cooking Club?
Good question, wish I could answer that one myself.
The kitchen, a kitchen, or any kitchen form, has always been my safe room.
My father’s kitchen was the focus of my childhood. A chrome legged and trimmed pearly grey formica table sat on one side at the window looking over our yard facing Celery St. A large fire burning range sat against the opposite wall. The range had all sorts of warming ovens and compartments over a wide stove top, two ovens, lower compartments with an open space under the right side oven where Ebony, our black cocker spaniel, had her puppies.
There was a big back porch, open on two wides, that held out ice box. Yes, the kind that hold a big chunk of ice that would melt and drip into a pan underneath. The iceman wore a big leather cape thing, he would heave the ice block on his shoulders with a huge tong and huff his way to our porch.
When we uprooted in ’54, sold the house and bought a good sized truck, Dad led a caravan of two autos, trailers and the truck up the Alcan to Fairbanks, getting up into third gear when he could. Took two weeks. That’s when we bought a real electric fridge, even though we could walk out in the back yard, dig down six inches and get permafrost.
I mourned the kitchen in our house on sixth and celery. I mourned our big back yard and the acre field with our vegetable patch and the oats we raised each year. But I really mourned that kitchen. There was one big window where dad could look out towards the grape arbor where I spent long summer afternoons cutting out paper dolls that I kept stored in a cigar box. My favorite doll had red hair and hollywood curves. I named her Rhonda. My younger sister’s doll was blonde like her; she named her Lana. My sister didn’t care for my insinuation that her Lana was a cheap hussy so we ended up in the usual scratching and hair pulling episode, me on the short end.
So, yeah, I miss(ed) that kitchen.
When my father passed away in 1956 out hunting caribou for our winter meat, the kitchen in our house at 1019 Smythe St. across the street from a gulch swamp breeding billions of mosquitos each summer, became my terrain. I was eleven. My world went downhill from there.
I wasn’t much of a cook. I later took home economics, but all I remember was that my group made a chiffon cake (it was a discouraging mess) and while learning to use a sewing machine I ran the sewing needle through my finger. I undid the needle from the machine and pulled my finger out, got up and walked over to show the teacher the needle sticking clean through my finger. But instead of her taking care of me, she turned white and had to sit down, so I simply pulled the needle out, washed my hands, and went back to sewing the world’s ugliest apron.
My early efforts at putting food on the table for our now family of five were met with the usual sibling derision. My brother took a big butcher knife to a cake I baked, turned the cake upright on the table then chopped it like firewood. Six years older than me, he had a penchant for knives,especially butcher knives. I still have a scar from the episode where he told me to hold the watermelon chunk with my right hand while he swung the butcher knife and chopped it in two. You hold it and I’ll cut it! Big old curved scar wrapped around the base of my thumb. I was around seven and was a dumb as a rock.
I should have known not to go along with his ideas. He usually had a doozy.
His idea of playing wild west show was to make me stand spread eagle up against a shed and hold real still while he shot around me with a bb gun. Like I said, dumb as a rock.
But, in the kitchen I was safe. Ok, the green gravy I made to go with the canned ham I heated in the oven was ugly, but my family was truly a captive audience. Hoots of derision would greet my newest efforts, but eventually, my siblings would clean their plates.
Ok, let’s get back to the subject of why I am putting myself out there in the internet on a blog that is thematically helter skelter. Hopefully there will be some kind of cohesiveness to all the bits and pieces, sort of like my early attempts at cooking.
So bear with me folks. I just might get better at this.
You will notice that there is no forum, no expectations for anyone to make comments or contact me. I don’t want to hear any hooting or criticisms about my poor sentence structuring. As Kai, a frequent dinner guest and occasional listener to my anecdotes, puts it: just write down the stories the same way they sound after dinner.
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