Practicality, simplicity, creativity, beauty, love
– this is the complete charge of kitchen magic,
and it is one that can change our way of living.
Patricia Telesco, Introduction to A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook (Llewellyn Publications, 1994)
…any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance,
usually of little value, into a substance of great value.
-definition of alchemy, according to Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary
of the English Language (Gramercy Books, 1996)
I believe we are all alchemists, capable of transforming the gifts of the earth (including creatures that graze on Mother Earth’s bounty – I’m not vegan or vegetarian, although not a big meat-eater either) into tasty sustenance that can make our stay on this planet a more joyous one. Combined, the above quotes pretty much sum up everything I feel and think about food, cooking, baking and my kitchen.
I am not a chef. I did not go to culinary school. I don’t even call myself a gourmet, simply because there are foods and food-groups that don’t appeal to me (most fish, for instance). I just love cooking, baking and – oh yeah, eating. It fits right into my idea of living a creative life (along with writing and visual art projects). After tasting what I’ve concocted, people often ask for the recipe. I am happy to share – recipes, remembrances, which of my over-300 cookbooks are my go-to ones, what I’m eating (& not eating), food-related books (memoirs, fiction, etc.), off-the-wall ideas or information gleaned. That’s what this blog is about: sharing the wealth, spreading the magic.
My inspiration? Hmmm… Could it be my beautiful, relatively new kitchen, as efficient as a small-but-not-miniature cooking/eating area could be made into (more on this in a subsequent blogpost)? Might it have something to do with retirement and the time it allows for real “food fests”? How about the urge to relay family recipes and the stories behind them? Or is it simply that both cooking and writing help to satisfy my creative urges? I happen to think it’s a little of all of these.
Since my early twenties, I’ve enjoyed reading recipes, which eventually morphed into inventing my own versions of them– possibly after consulting a half-dozen or more cookbooks for ingredients to add or substitute, another way to conjure up a dish or dessert. The blogosphere now affords me space to extend my passion for all-things-foodie into a wider Universe, blending it with writing and even with my visual art (expect pictures!) for my readers’ pleasure.
In addition to myself, I’m usually providing edible nourishment for my husband of almost four decades, Bill, and our grown son, Adrian (and his picky appetite). Often, I’m sending daughter Kristen home with “care packages” of any dish not prepared with red meat or pork (she’s “semi-vegetarian,” ingesting fowl and, rarely, fish). Nothing gives me a warmer feeling inside or evokes my smile more quickly than a “Honey, this is delicious!” or “Mom, this is awesome!” My goal is to provide insights into my kitchen-witchy experiences and, perhaps, to hear that you tried a recipe, read a recommended book, tried a restaurant I talked about… and that it was good. Maybe even a tad magical.
Marilyn Zembo Day, WomanWords
P.O. Box 14315
Albany, NY 12212