Sunday, September 4, 2016

An Ode to Kitchens - New and Old

According to my records, it has been almost 5 months to the day since my last blog post. Life happens to all of us, and mine has changed somewhat since the last time I wrote here. In April, we spent the entire month preparing to move, which involved a lot of anxiety/procrastinating on my part, and forgetting to post on here. On the last day of April, I moved from my very first "big girl apartment" that I live in for almost 5 years to a much nicer apartment complex with my significant other. 

I kept planning on writing a post about how kitchens become the keepsakes of the spaces that we live in, for those of us who thrive on food and cooking. I never got to do that then, mostly because I was in an insane amount of denial that I was about to move out of my comfort zone into a bigger, nicer place with someone I love. Doing "adult things" like being totally financial independent, being graduated from college for a year, and still not knowing what the hell the future holds for me was nerve-wracking. Moving to a new place made it hit all at once.

Back to kitchens -when I was looking for an apartment when I first started college, my #1 criteria was that it had to have a big kitchen, no questions asked. I didn't care about anything else. So we looked and looked...and on a whim, we popped into a place where the landlord was mowing the lawn. It was perfect. It was gigantic and old, built in the '70s. All of the wood made it feel cozy. This was it. We signed the lease that day and there it was - my very first kitchen.

I didn't cook a lot at my parents house until right before I moved out. They were extremely gracious - they did everything to help me experiment with food. I solely thank them for pretty much all of the kitchen equipment that I have and for letting me use their space to try new things. I always cleaned up - so no one ever complained. When I had my first kitchen, a whole new world opened up to me. I was still eating meat at this time, but obviously no dairy, wheat, or gluten. I was still in the midst of figuring out what was right for me, and my body, which (heads up) it can take years. I can still remember the first recipe I made alone, in my own kitchen, and it was these creamy scrambled eggs

Everything in that first moment of "freedom", cooking in this new-but-all-mine kitchen felt so peaceful, and right. Everything was prepared with extra care, even though at its most basic, we are really talking about just decadently scrambled eggs on dry toast, with poorly snipped chives (which I didn't know were any different than scallions at the time), and soggy, sliced tomatoes. But this is a moment I know I will cherish forever. In my recipe notebook, I even declared this "my first Walker Ave apartment meal."

My old place had some cracks, some bugs, some downfalls - it was old. It was rundown. It was loud - smack in the middle of a college part of town. I miss it. But it was time for a new, and much nicer chapter. Our last meal was vegan lentil sloppy joes served open-face on bread, smothered with hot sauce and pickles. It was a bittersweet moment. We hit up all of our favorite spots the night before our move, knowing that hours of work lay ahead of us and that we should really sleep. We indulged in garlic fries, veggie-topia pizza, ciders, cocktails in Tiki glasses, and we said our "see you laters" to the people who knew us by what alcohol we favored.

The first week after the move was, to put it simply, hell. I barely slept, we both worked a ton, Cole pulled his back, nothing was organized, food was an intangible idea at the time. We ate out a lot. My stomach was a wreck for weeks after. Besides a messily thrown together "pantry pasta", our first meal fell on Cinco de Mayo - so we made portobello fajitas. It felt weird, being in this shiny new kitchen with all new appliances, more than enough cabinet space, a dishwasher (?!!!), and plenty of counter space. It took me almost a month to get out of the habit of handwashing things because living without a dishwasher for almost 5 years does that to a person.

Today is Sunday September 4th, and the gang is sleeping on the porch (minus me). Four month after the move, including waiting almost a month for our sofa, this place finally feels like home. This new kitchen still feels new, but also feels like mine. The only true struggle we've had is learning that not all pans work on induction stovetops (fun fact), which led to us throwing out quite a few pans. There's a grill at the pool that we use as much as we can, which is also a new change for us. 

Besides this move, not much has really happened around here. I finally started reading again, and as you can see, have found the motivation to write again - but differently this time, I think. This move is something I've been wanting to write about for some time now. We had our vacation of the year and saw Charleston - somewhere I've been wanting to go for ages. And the Charleston Tea Plantation - that is a must. Don't miss it! 

What sparked this post is that we sort of meal prepped last week and it sort of went rather well (minus Friday and Saturday, of course). So I will certainly be posting about this soon. Until then, thanks for reading this semi long post about kitchens and why I am, for some reason, very nostalgic for them. You will definitely be hearing from me soon!

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