Lately, I’ve been thinking about my family’s life and traditions as an outsider. Meaning, do I understand and appreciate the traditions and quirks of this life that we live together? Can I recognize that which is in my own family life that is special and unique– worthy of recognition and gratitude? It’s easy to pass it all by, go through the motions, act like it’s all normal.
Then, one day last week, I asked Chris to play Beastie Boys as we cleaned the kitchen, and as we air guitared and fist pounded, I thought, perhaps, by some standards, this is strange?
See, we play music in the kitchen. My mother always played music in the kitchen…Loud. Like, drown out the noise loud, where the music is the main actor on the stage, not our conversations or the instructions to the recipe. Kitchen work becomes a dance– literally and figuratively. It’s the spatula as a drumstick and the chopping in perfect step. And it’s exactly what I love about working in the kitchen– the electric guitar of Gary Clark, the piano of Phillip Glass, the twang of Hank Williams. Each unique, each loud, each full.
There’s something I’ve learned about a kitchen full of music– it’s typically a kitchen full of joy. The mood is light, it’s swaying and laid-back. And it invites anyone in– a siren call to the family members scattered around the house or in the yard. It’s an approachable kitchen, a welcoming kitchen.
I’m currently reading Soul of a Chef, and Ruhlman describes James Beard– who I knew little to nothing about previously. Apparently, Beard was a champion for having fun in the kitchen. He’s quoted as saying, “It’s something you enjoy and have fun with, and if you don’t, to hell with it.”
Playing music in the kitchen isn’t new information, or I sure as heck hope it isn’t. But what I’m discovering is that sometimes we have to name things– call out why it’s good and right, so then we can be grateful for it. And loud music in the kitchen is a good thing. I’m thankful for a mother who showed me this, and I’m thankful to a husband who appreciates it. Because if not for this joy, to hell with it.