When I was growing up, the energy in our home revolved around our kitchen. It is where meals were prepared, math homework was agonized over, art projects took form, animals were dissected for biology class, and where we slept when we spent a night on the mayflower. Evening dinner conversations were intended to include everyone in the family, and my sister and I did our part to tell our own stories of the day.
The kitchen is where I learned from my mother how to cook, to both follow a recipe with exact precision and know when to use it as a mere suggestion. I learned about spices and marinades and the perfect way to cook pasta and rice and eggs. I learned about making a colorful plate before it became a fashionable thing to do. I learned about quick tips and what was worth spending time over. I learned how to make a perfect dirty roux for gumbo.
Our kitchen was not always the same, just as not every house was the same. But even when the kitchen was small, our family made it a space where we could fit and make it work. Our lives revolved around the kitchen. We laughed and cried around the kitchen table, even when the table itself wasn’t a constant. Our constant was each other. We were bound together by more than where we were, but by who we were. My family formed our identity by coming together at our table in our kitchen, where we created our memories.