I went to fill the bird feeder yesterday and somehow, an hour later, I was standing in front of my stove with a toothpick cleaning out crevices and muttering darkly about ill fitting drip pans. I'm not quite sure how that came to happen, but the bird feeder did get filled. Eventually.
What I realized while I was doing this mad cleaning was that I spend more time cleaning my kitchen than any other room in my house. More time wiping, soaping, sweeping and clearing space in a room that has the same footprint as one armchair from the living room.
If I had to describe the kitchen, I would say small. My sweetheart goes to get a drink from the fridge and I stop moving because otherwise something will go horribly awry. I would then add comments about cabinet doors that don't close true anymore, especially in the rain. The single cabinet wide enough to hold my pans. Burner coils that only half work, and don't stay level. The fridge light has never worked properly. Two oddly placed outlets, total.
And yet, that tiny space is home. When I need comfort, I go there. When I want to celebrate, I go there. To bring together friends and neighbors, to find peace in solitude, that is the part of our house where I can make the world, for a little while, be what I wish it to be.
And really, that is why I cook for a living. Not because I love the craft of it, which I do. Not because I love the result, which without question is true. It's because that world that exists in my kitchen is a good world. If I move to a larger kitchen, then that good world I've created becomes larger, as well. If the people in that larger kitchen share their good world with mine, that good world becomes even larger. "Trying to make the world a better place" is trite and cliche to me. There is no try. When I cook, the world is better to me. I just want to get everyone else in on the action.