One of the greatest kitchens I ever spent time in was in South Minneapolis. It all centered around our friend’s big industrial stove against one wall that seemed to stretch and groan as it heated up. I remember the wafting heat and the rich spicy scents rolling out of that hardworking range, culminating in some of my favorite weekend days ever.
This kitchen was not big, but it had heart. Peder and Mary’s kitchen was welcoming and humming with activity all day long with lots of cooking, talking, and sharing. Their kitchen created community and family, and as long as you were there, you belonged.
You were asked to help out and that meant that you learned along the way how cooking is a process. It’s experiential in nature. I learned about cooking my first savory tart there and how to roast lamb on the grill. Peder also taught me how to build Adirondack chairs from scratch during those days 25 years ago, and they still sit out in my yard today.
Every once in a while, I’ll drive by the old stucco and wood Tudor and peek at the back deck where we hand cut all those planks for the Adirondack chairs. Who knows if the kitchen still has all the warmth of an old log cabin any longer? Are they grilling lamb or simmering mutton stew? If only those walls could talk, they’d tell stories from a decade of love, life, and lots of satisfying meals.