Knowing food, how to prepare it, to transform it into what it is we need is evident in our very growth; recipes, the narratives read to us since we were small; soothing us, tucking us in, we know these stories by heart; kneading out their rhythms and all else they have to offer by hand; our bare hands know the flaky textures, our taste buds the smooth tastes; our tongues have measured the salt and pepper, flavored and spiced, from all spice to zest of lemon.
“Aish! come and tell me what this needs! “she is shouting over calypso songs and soccer on Spanish channel. I run to her with my hand out. She dabs the sauce into the palm of my hand and I blow it quickly so it wont burn. I lick the sauce from it…”needs more garlic!” I say smiling two front teeth missing…! was 7 years old and had an experienced palate. We still do that today. I cook and she tastes, she cooks and I taste, and I believe I will continue this ritual with my daughter.
I feel like Mexican/Italian/Caribbean. I can’t eat just anybody’s… Is it Sunday? I’m goin’ to Mama’s!! Food engages all the senses. Taste and aroma. Food music: the sounds of preparation and consumption. Touch or texture, which should be savored just as much as the taste. Sight or presentation: whether its nouvelle cuisine or buffet, pretty food gets me excited!!
The presentation is always an act of love
This food is precious, made with care and so are those bodies that take it all in
The cooking process occupies much more than mere memories, it’s in our bones becuz the product nourishes, gives us what we need to function, most basically, fundamentally.
I cook and she tastes, she cooks and I taste.
I cook without a map
My rhythm is in the reaching, the tossing, the marinating, the bending over to check
what’s in the oven or stooping over the pot
I love that ache that gets in my feet, in the small of my back, the perspiration that pops up
on the surface of my skin
I like to be alone when I cook, the kitchen space is for meditation, concentrating on making dishes that say love, you are precious to me, take my offering and relax yourself for a minute.
It is a comfortable and inviting place, our kitchen. It is the sticky stuff that holds our family together. For cooking and tasting and gathering and learning and laughing and praying and talking. For birthdays and graduations and anniversaries and announcements and funerals and weddings and it is in our kitchen that we continue tradition. My food memory, my recollection of edible consumption conjures images of moments, places, occasions, spaces, people, objects, traumas and triumphs that remind me that I still have a lot of living and tasting to do.