There was a ghost singer in my kitchen when I came downstairs this morning. I recently brought home the almost unused iPod dock I kept at the office and set it up on the counter, but my iPod is in some kind of slow death throes, and erratic about its connection. Or the cat walked on the dock control. Or I have a ghost. Or all three, really. It's an old house, who knows who still lives here with me.
(I discovered recently that while I do not believe in god, I do believe in ghosts and possibly reincarnation. Which I find wilding illogical and rather charmingly un-analytical, like all belief systems. Most unlike me.)
I wanted music in the kitchen because I'm spending more time there these days and it's a 70 or 80 year old addition, on the wrong side of the house's original brick wall and the only place in the house that music played in the living room is not perfectly audible.
My father asked me once how I knew what to order in Chinese restaurants, in a curiously naked voice that told me more than I had ever understood about him and the comfort of the known. He liked the things he knew and might have liked the things he didn't, if he had known how to ask without looking ignorant. My mother was never afraid of the new in the kitchen but hates and distrusts food so profoundly that enjoyment never comes into it, and is prone to fads, rules and ritual around eating. It took me several years of therapy to understand what hunger WAS, much less to begin to understand its role and the signals it sends me.
I know a few people who grew up sane about food - perhaps insane in other ways, but the kitchen wasn't a place of stealth or danger. I find that such an astonishing idea, so alien I can only dimly imagine the edges of what it might look like.
But I'm cooking now because I am not eating wheat or cow's milk for a while - part of correcting my mal-absorption issues - and I am finding a new kind of satisfaction in filling the fridge on the weekend with things that are tasty, and mostly healthy and sustaining and good. All these years I've been trying to learn to feed myself without hurting myself, and I think I'm finally walking down the right street.
I started writing this with an image in my head, of little prep bowls filled with spice and curry paste. It's almost a pleasure now to prep ahead instead of cook hurriedly, carelessly. I want music, because I'm taking my time, hanging out with my dinner, keeping the kitchen tidy as I go. Cooking as part of life, not an enemy or an obligation.