The Kitchen Cure
A couple of years ago, my husband and I received a trip to a spa as an anniversary gift. This is not the kind of place where you lie a reclining chair and get a gentle massage, a pedicure and a facial. We arrived at this place at 7 o'clock in the morning and became inmates. They locked up our things. We each talked to a medical doctor. After we received a personalized schedule of treatments, we were nudged into the labyrinth. The inmates, stripped of our belongings, were shuffling around in matching slippers and white bathrobes. No one spoke. It was Fellini-esque. The experience was jarring and liberating at the same time, since we were subjected to being pummeled with streaming jets of water at fire-hose velocity, dipped in vats of bubbling clay, massaged with compounds, stretched with weird machines, closed up in rooms of various degrees of heat and coldness, scraped, kneaded, and otherwise indelicately handled. Loic and I were separated at arrival and raised our eyebrows at each other in passing down the halls throughout the day. We were then left to silently bake together in a cloistered courtyard, exhausted, draped over reclining chairs overlooking the Mediterranean sea, drinking cups of healing water that were refilled by nurses. It was all we could do to make our hands touch each other across the great divide between our wooden recliners while we watched the sun set. We left that place completely drained of all energy but in the weeks to come, wow! The difference was amazing.
Fast forward to today. Since we bought the country place a bit over a year ago, our apartment in Lyon has entered a sort of Feng Shui limbo. Especially the kitchen. We didn't put much thought into how to establish the new kitchen in the mountains, nor did we give furnishing it a line in the household budget. Instead, we shuffled and shuttled things from one place to another in boxes and bags for awhile, then hit the brocantes and doubled certain small things like corkscrews, knife sharpeners and silverware. But since this wasn't thought out or planned in any way, things settled the way they fell. Add to that the arrival of our son, Ian, last spring, adding baby accoutrements and products that never found their places and a vast cut in spare time even to consider the issue, and we've got ourselves a nice big mess. I've been trailing along behind in the wake of all of this. I haven't had the courage to even address the general dysfunction, I just feel more and more like I need a helping hand. This was why, when I came across the 2010 Kitchen Cure at Apartment Therapy, I took the plunge.
They told me I had to dispose of my lovely olives.
Our kitchen is extremely small, and I like it that way. For years, it was a very efficient one. But now it feels like an abandoned rats nest, for all the things I've stolen from it to nourish the kitchen in the mountains. All the bits and scraps of useless junk that remain tucked into every corner have lost their meaning. In addition to problems with clogged energy, I really am going to have to replenish the spirit of my kitchen. I want it to be a place that nourishes my creativity again.
The first assignment at the Kitchen Cure is to tackle the refrigerator and the pantry, removing everything that's expired, inedible, or no longer useful. One shelf at a time, we purge things that no longer belong there, and brush the dust off of that which we will keep. We have a week to do this. This is a task that just takes time. In my house, the kitchen and pantry have begun to spill out into our living space. This first step will make space and find places for the many things that seem to never have had a place to begin with. It will give me a chance also to replenish the essentials.