It has been eleven days since I have cooked. I have barely even made tea.
We put our house up for sale eleven days ago, after cleaning it top to bottom and giving it a fresh coat of paint. A stager came and rearranged furniture (she even brought a smaller dining table and artwork to put on the walls!). A huge number of people helped us to move things into storage and do odd jobs–that list that all of us have but never seem to get the time to do. I am so grateful that we had a supportive community to help us: A and M were fantastic, along with K and G, and my brother-in-law, too. It was a lot of hard work and we never could have done it on our own.
Of course once the house was ready, we began to receive the showing appointments. They have come fast and furious, which is great. Unfortunately, they have almost all been on weekends and on weekday evenings, which makes family life a bit of a challenge and cooking decent meals next to impossible.
To start with, strong cooking odours are not considered a good idea when people come to view your home. No fish, then. No curry. No cabbage, either (not that I cook cabbage very often). So even when I was at home and could cook, the options were limited to things like poached eggs and toast. The other problem is timing: I could cook before people arrive, but the food would get cold while we dashed out of the house for an hour. I could cook after showings were finished for the night, but the kids need to go to bed at a decent hour. Our solution has been to visit cheap, local restaurants almost every day for over a week.
Until today. Today, a glorious Monday (my day off!), I cooked up a storm: apple crisp, squash soup (with fresh thyme from the garden!), peanut butter cookies, applesauce, coleslaw. I even spent a few minutes cutting carrots into sticks for lunches later in the week. All of it smelled warm and sweet and comforting.
I meditatively peeled and chopped in a quiet kitchen. I revelled in the freshness of the produce (the apples were from Waterloo!). I appreciated being able to cook without tons of salt and looked forward to eating food that hadn’t been deep fried. I also thought about how a house seems empty and lifeless when there is no food in it–no aromas, no clanging pots, no people gathered around a table. A home should be a place where people are nourished, a place where beauty and pleasure are present, a place where creativity finds an outlet in the kitchen. There is truth in the saying that a kitchen is the heart of a home, but it’s not just the counters or the kettle. It is the preparing and cooking, the serving and eating that make a house come alive.
So at least for today, my house was a home and I was happy. Here’s hoping that soon we will have a sold sign out front.