My wife knows, I’m not a man of small appetite. And she is a long framed, long legged woman of ample charms. Close by in the steamy kitchen, around such natural bounty, could I be blamed for being distracted and letting the rice burn?
‘This is the kitchen’, she’s saying, detaching my hands, and it takes me a long minute to wonder why that’s any part of the discussion. I work it out when she gives the chicken her full attention.
‘I like the kitchen’, I say, testing her resolve and her waist.
‘Your rice is on fire’, she points, over her shoulder with the chef knife, to the happily smoking pot on the burner.
Smoldering, I have to douse the whole thing in cold water.
‘Since when is the kitchen off limits?’ I challenge her. I’m not going to let this go. And I have to start over to avoid going hungry.
‘This is where we prepare food,’ she says, with a voice like I’m hard of hearing. An image pops immediately into my head. Breathing naked skin and a variety of appetizers and sauces. Wait, I tell myself. She means, that’s a bad combination.
‘What could be more natural’? I say. And, really, what could be? Food can be a very sensual thing. Is there any possible harm in mixing more than one appetite in the same room?
I decide to take a low shot.
‘Think of the calories we could burn’, I say, like a fitness coach, like a highly caffeinated infomercial, and I’m thinking, now there’s a weight loss plan – talk about a balanced diet. I’m wondering how many calories there are in dinner and how long it would take to….
‘Does everything have to be about sex?’, she says, and the tip of the knife is doing little circles in the air, and her look is like she caught someone in the cookie jar.
‘Not sex. Making love’, I say. And mean it. Two of us, in the summer sun lit late afternoon, close in the heat of the day, and life is good, good enough to need to be shared, with a touch of passion, a taste of desire, and yes, love.
‘I’m making love,’ she says to the oven, ‘when I’m making food for my family.’ And she means it.
The front door slams, and the kids are home, trooping in to see what’s for dinner. Hi mom, hi dad. I go back to putting water and rice together, while she fills them in on the menu.
‘And there’s a special dessert’, she says over her shoulder, ‘for everyone who behaves themself in the kitchen.’
And I’m thinking, maybe this weekend we can send the kids off and get to making up a loving four course feast.
What else is a good kitchen for?