There’s a new brand of American Do-it-Yourselfer on the scene.
Perhaps driven by the escalating excesses of the last 50 years, spurred on by fears of global climate change and the environmental damage done, these granddaughters and grandsons of the Hippie movement are coming into adulthood with eyes wide open, knowing the world they’ve inherited is jarringly scarred.
I got the chance to be a guest blogger for the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and attend their workshop in Seattle on January 12 & 13, focusing on the very practical skills and tools you need to build a very small house. As a preliminary exercise before taking part, I put down a few (very non-practical) ideas that were rattling around in my tiny brain. I’m inspired by the people that have done so, and who have changed their lives to live simply – we’ll see where it takes me!
I also had this little cardboard Barbie house, complete with Nat King Cole album.
The handle of our pink dishwasher has a long silver bar that spins around and around like a steering wheel, just at eye-level. A row of square silver buttons to the right promises flight and control. It hums and clanks, and gives off the comforting aroma of Cascade. I scoot a heavy wooden chair across the brown speckled linoleum, open lower cabinet doors on each side, close myself into the cockpit. I push button after button hard, and my fingers don’t seem strong enough, still, the rumbling shifts and starts; growling and gurgling steam warming my face from around its edges.
People say that a kitchen is the heart of the home. But I think it is also the head.
Sure, the warmth of the oven, the smells of good things bubbling and baking, the tug of good memories of conversations around a table are an umbilical cord to the past. Here nurturing happens. But in the act of nurturing, our brain grows, too. In my father’s kitchen, I learned why bread dough rises. In my mother’s kitchen I learned why onions caramelize. The heart, the head.
Oh, yes, and the hands. In my seventh kitchen (1015 Harrison), I almost sliced my finger off while chopping basil, and still have the dead nerve cells to prove it. But I also made semi-successful gnocchi for the first time in my fourth kitchen (555 1st North), awkwardly forming – with my fingers and a fork – sticky little dumplings into globby, messy balls that, nevertheless, rose to the top of the boiling pot when done and held a sauce well.