My name is Lindsey. I am a Virginian and vegetarian, born and raised. I am a lover of a boy named Jordan, a beagle mix named Lucy, and a gray cat named Thurman.
I love food. Especially the kind that grows up from the ground and down from trees. Vegetables and fruits and nuts. Pure, whole, magical nourishment and flavor.
I was once asked to write 100 words describing my favorite kitchen utensil. This is what I wrote:
I was not born with a silver spoon in my wailing mouth. To make up for this, my grandmother placed her worn and well-seasoned wooden spoon in my hands while I still toddled about in diapers. For this, I am inexplicably grateful. Silver tarnishes; wood withstands the years and all the heat, spices and flour they demand. Twenty-six years later, I have my own battered and stained wooden spoon. It is shockingly strong and surprisingly gentle, working hard while leaving cast iron pots and porcelain bowls unharmed. Long and light and smooth, its shape comforts my hand and soul.
To be completely honest, I don't remember whether or not my grandmother ever actually handed me a wooden spoon. I do, however, vividly remember hours spent perched on her kitchen counter, watching with wide-eyed awe as she bustled about, making batch after perfect batch of biscuits and buttery cake. And, it is true that I was not a child of the silver spoon. It is also true that I hold dear my own wooden spoons, that I grip their symbolism with determination and that I am comforted by their steadfastness and strength.
Mabel. It has taken years for me to begin to understand her love. A tough love. The love she gave me was, it seemed, different than she offered her six children or 16 other grandchildren. She had faced tremendous heartache in her lifetime. I suspect she thought I might face the weighty grief of loss. And, I have begun to believe that my grandmother handed me the proverbial wooden spoon to equip me for what was ahead of me. What I once believed was despise, I now understand as a deep, fiercely protective love, one that did not attempt to shelter me, but one that sured me up to withstand the winds of grief and heart break.
As I have fallen in love with food in the last decade or so of life, and as I have found myself frequenting the kitchen, standing over bowls of flour and butter, pans of beets and green beans, I have found myself thinking of her. From her story, I draw strength. From the memories of her table bending with the weight of food and family, I draw inspiration.
May my table always be a place of plenty for others -- be it found in the physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental sustenance offered there.