My parents are visiting me now. Determined to make use of this time with my mother to learn some recipes definitively, I started cooking with her today. She likes my cooking and is a good master to apprentice with. A lot of stories come out, random tips about why it is better to add a pinch of this ingredient only at this stage in the making of a dish, why so and so never got it right, why so and so always got it right, what shortcuts to take when there is not much time, who taught her that, or how she figured that out herself, so on. Kitchen is a space where my mother and I connect with each other in the most collaborative, anxiety-free, non-neurotic way. Even when I work by myself, other than the performance stage, it is the kitchen that brings out the best in me, it is the place where I am my most unfragmented self.
And today, I was awakened to the presence of someone else in the kitchen along with my mother and me -- my maternal grandmother, who died long before I was born; in fact, she died when my mother was a kid. I happened to mention to my mother which of the ladles in her collection I love most, like to use most. She exclaimed, "Me too! It is my mothers!" I immediately got present to my grandmother's presence there with us in the kitchen. Of course, she is present in my mother and through her in me. But it felt beautiful to see that I was holding this ladle that my grandmother once used. It delights me to tears to think that the kitchen, a space I so happily and lovingly inhabit, also thus connects me to my grandmother, someone I have never met but have heard a lot about, whose image in my mother's memories, the few photographs, and my own idea of her in my heart I so love.