Being in the kitchen is where I feel at "home". It's where I am the happiest (aside from my bed probably!) I love nothing more than mixing up a feast. Having the oven on, every burner on the stovetop range with a bubbling pot or simmering onion, timers beeping and measuring out flour, spices, flavors, that is my happy place. I love this place. I love the kitchen.
After getting married and moving away from home, I learned this about myself. I love cooking, and even more I love baking. On top of all that, I love having people into my home. I love showing people love through the taste of food and comforts in my home. I get true and utter happiness preparing a table for people to sit around and talk, eat, and get to know each other on a new level.
I remember our first tiny apartment in the northern suburbs of Chicago. We had a tiny living room/dining area, a galley kitchen and one bedroom and a tiny bathroom. It was built in approximately 1970 and had the same carpet, same horrible plastic type baseboards and was so dusty I was at the doctor about 100 times for my allergies in the 2 years we lived there. Having people over was scary at first. I started having people in our building over because I knew that they knew what we were dealing with here. Once I got over it, put up some decorations and painted my hutch mustard yellow and fell in love with "our first home" a little bit (as much as possible...) I started branching out and having more people over. I realized that people didn't care.
(my mom and I cooking Thanksgiving dinner in our kitchen in Chicago, and our first Thanksgiving meal together in Chicago with our neighbors and my parents)
I recently read a book by Shauna Niequist that truly spoke to my soul. Her third book is titled "Bread & Wine" and it's an amazing book that I highly recommend you run out to Barnes & Noble or your closest bookstore and buy right now, and in case you live somewhere like me that has 3 feet of snow and the thought of leaving your pajamas and the couch creates a true panic attack, get it on your Kindle or reader asap and start reading. I promise you won't be able to put it down.
This is a quote from that book, and it is so true of my feelings and how I grew from having people over being about showmanship and a beautiful place setting and more about making people comfortable.
"What people are craving isn't perfection. People aren't longing to be impressed; they're longing to feel like they're home. If you create a space of love and character &creativity&soul, they'll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd".-Shauna Niequist "Bread & Wine"
Once I let people into my home, I fell in love. When we moved to Grand Rapids, we were renting again. Having a dining room wasn't on my radar, especially with apartment hunting. That's not really what we were looking for. Matt and I have learned so much in our marriage through hosting people. Making things work. My husband is such a patient man. Sometimes, I admit, I can become a bit insane when things don't go right in the kitchen and then He helps me move the entire apartment around to host meals.
We have our house church at our house once a week. We have meals together, we get to know one another. We live life together. A group of 15 people smashing into our living room with floppy card tables and metal chairs. When we got married, Matt's grandparents gave us their table from when they were married. It's metal, and green top 1950s style. It weighs about 100 lbs I swear. My husband and I lug that thing into our living room and move the tv and everything out and we have people snuggle up on the couch at one end of the table, and someone smashed against the wall in a metal chair at the other end, and we eat. We feast in fact!
Something our church here in Grand Rapids has done that we love and have been so blessed by is "family meals". A church member signs up to host a meal in their house with a purpose and a meal planned, and then church members sign up to come to a meal. We have hosted and gone to meals at others houses and we have always been so blessed. To walk into some strangers home for dinner is truly amazing. It's such a blessing. Some may think it is so weird, but it's really a great way to get to know people in such a raw way.
(a picture from our meal prep a couple weeks ago)
We have gotten to know some of our closest friends from just inviting them into our home for food , drink, and time around the table together.
(a table set for four. something about having other couples
We love hosting parties as well! We recently had an Oscar party and it was so much fun!
I've decided that this is something I really want to feature here on the blog. I recently got a nice new professional(ish) camera from a friend and I am ready to embark on this journey! So be ready for posts on food around the table, place settings, recipes, parties, and food and at times my inadequacies in these things and things that go wrong in the kitchen.
I'm really excited about it! Stay tuned for updates!