Secrets in the Kitchen

The kitchen is my battleground.  I whack meats, I grate things, I slice and shred and boil to the death, carving meals out of icy mounds and body parts and things ripped from the dirt.  I go out, and I bring dead and dying things back.  To the kitchen.  To finish them off with a little garnish on the side and some cheese on top.  And when I’m in the kitchen, doing these things, I like to be alone.

I’ve suffered guilt for not wanting or allowing my children to be in the kitchen with me.  Maybe it started out as a safety issue and then just grew from there.  Maybe, no matter where I’ve lived, the kitchens have always been small.  Maybe when I’m home from work and have to start cooking right away, I’m still “processing” my day.  I don’t know, I just know that I like to be unencumbered when I’m engaged in warfare.

So last night, standing just within the battle line, my teenage daughter tells me a secret. Over the roar of the blazing fire, knives glinting in the setting sun, vegetables dismembered and sorted, she tells me her secret.

Looking back, I realize that I had asked her to come in, right in to the middle of the fray.  I had asked her to take the bleeding meat out of the package it was in and wrap it carefully and place half in the freezer and half in the refrigerator, battles for another day.  She liked the raw bleeding meat, to hold it in her hands, she was a part of my world.

And now, I am a part of hers.  Both of us, the spoils of war.