Have you ever had times in your life in relationships that required you take the emotional temperature of another before proceeding to engage in interaction with them in any given moment? I have. I remember growing, up, 🙂 upon entering the house after school, I and my siblings became adept at doing a flash analysis of where the maternal parental unit was emotionally within herself before announcing our arrival home. Was it safe to say hello or would it be better to quietly retreat up the backstairs and straight into the land of homework?
Our mother was not a bad person, just not often found genuinely happy in herself. She had quit working a job she enjoyed and excelled at (teaching special education) and made the choice to stay home full time as a mother after I was age 5. I think this was a mistake. I don’t think she overly enjoyed lots of what it meant to stay home and to mother (she definitely did not overly enjoy cooking! -no finger pointing with blame though, because no matter how you cut it, it is a challenge to cook 3 meals for 11 people each and every day). I believe she would have been much happier and fulfilled in herself (and thus with her children) if she had stayed working.
Later, long after I had been launched into the world, my mother did get better about taking care of nurturing the self she was outside of her role being a parent. When I was in my early twenties she ran for and and was elected to the school board in one of the largest school districts in the USA. She was fabulous at this. Very quickly she was appointed the president, and although this took her away from home more often, when she was there, I think my younger siblings benefited because she definitely was happier.
In my world it has been a long time since I have had any relationship in the home environment that I have chosen to create that required any need to regularly do this taking of temperatures before interacting. A long time ago I mastered most of the lessons provided by the opportunity of walking on egg shells at home, and since then, I have never looked back. Smooth, smooth sailing these past years.
Well, it had been.
With my move last fall however, this changed. In my new space I encountered a challenging relationship. Now, for those who have been reading here on this blog for awhile, you might recall that the kitchen and I have always had a bit of a tenuous relationship. I have always deeply enjoyed the results of what goes on there, but I myself have not taken the time or had the inclination to dip into the artistry of activity available in that space. I have long been an admirer of the culinary world, but as an observer of and not participator in it’s creational alchemical mysteries. ( Those interested in a peek at a few attempts shared before can be found here X & X )
However, this last particular move of house provided my life flow with such a beautiful and inspirational space to cook in that I decided to approach this area of my home again with an olive branch of peace and friendship. I would cook at home.
Now I will not lie and attempt to disguise the fact that this arrangement was partially arrived at due to our new, more isolated location on the coast. Without the plethora of outstanding food choices within walking distance right out the front door in the foodie city of Portland, what is a human who still needs to eat to do? So…
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Hildegard…my oven. She is a beauty.
(Didn’t think it could hurt to christen her after one
who could interact with “the shade of the living light” 🙂 )
My first real opportunity to enjoy formal introductions with Hilde was this past Christmas. Armed with the magic making gift of well blessed potholders sent by a dear friend (received with so much love straight to give support to my non-cooking heart), I made my first attempt to bake making Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread. I took this picture at the time to email to my precious MT who graciously gifted me courage to “keep calm and bake on”.
My next attempt to do a little dance with the oven was for a small dinner party. I had somewhere caught a little blurb about Julianna Margulies and the simple salmon recipe that she said people invited themselves over with instructions specifically for her to cook for them. I thought how hard is it to open a bottle, marinate and bake? Well, apparently harder than it seems. After following the instructions to the letter, the middle of my filet remained in the land of kissing cousins with sashimi.
What was going on? Why did Hildegard not like me? What was I doing wrong? It had to be me. You see, I can’t cook, right? Hilde is a top of the line Whirlpool Gold with Accubake System, a “-hello, and yes you do not even need to be able to read to operate this-“, state of the art “-I will do everything but mix for you-” miracle of a modern appliance. So it MUST be me?!! Right!??
I left her untouched for months.
Then one day it dawned on me. There really only ever are I won’t statements. Thoughts we believe become real experiences. Testing this understanding, it was time to quit walking on eggshells and actually to take the temperature in my relationship with the Hild-ster. Result?
Martha Stewart, prepare to share your crown. Culinary magicians ain’t got nothing on one Mrs. seeingM Salmon. 😉
Emotion is infused into all we create in the living of our lives, so remember to always kiss the cook. Our thoughts about what is happening in our emotional kitchens help support their creations of our reality. When love and happiness is present in the human home with a can do, will do and want to do attitude, culinary disasters in the kitchen of our living are usually not ever the cook’s fault.
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Hilde (& Mother),
Thank you for your lessons in living.
You are still loved so. -x.M