Cooking and dancing parade through my life and the lives of the women before me.
Cooking is an obvious connection–it’s woman’s work, but I got my start with Grandmother at my side. It was an unusual day because she actually “let” me make the pie crust without taking over. It was an pie crust recipe from Crisco oil and of course, it was the best one as far Grandmother was concerned. After that lesson, I took to cooking with ease and grace-do you believe me?
I hope not. I burned things, made titanic messes and created things that were inedible, but I was cooking. To me cooking is a dance between spices and heat. To dance in the kitchen is a dangerous thing, but it is necessary to dance Salsa every now and again in the middle of making black beans and rice. It’s a requirement, actually.
My mother, who my Grandmother did not care for, danced through her life. Sometimes in great smoothness and beauty and other times in heart-wrenching stops and starts. My mother taught me a little tap, a little jazz and once (famously) memorized all of Thriller when it first came out. She performed it for me.
So I balance cooking with the shifting weights of dance. I shift the weights of the memories around–trying to disassemble, reassemble, reincarnate, repair, but the balance remains the same. I hold these women and the women before them in balance–all of them are my Grand Mothers.