My relationship with cooking fundamentally changed while I lived in Baile Ard. I had never been particularly enthusiastic about it, but there was something about the combination of having a place I was proud to invite people, having a kitchen that was open to the living area, and a decision I made not long after moving there that changed everything.
The decision was that I was not going to wait to have a man in my life before making a home. I was going to be a family of one, if that was my fate, and that included homemaking, home cooking, decorating for holidays, and entertaining.
I started off by delving back into my childhood memories of cooking Japanese food with my godmother, Kimiko Sakai, and with her mother-in-law, Botchan-san. I was still vegetarian at that time, but managed to pull together a couple six-course Japanese dinners. I don't know if my guests stopped for burgers on the way home or not, but we had a laugh anyway.
The epitome of my culinary adventures was the Winter Solstice Banquet, which I and my friend Pandora started as a collaboration. There's a little more about that in this post: Happy 10th Ballardiversary!
This transformation of ingredients into food was a new form of magic for me, but the spell that was cast by so many friends that night which led to my embrace of it was classic Seumascraft:
Take your favorite of the cooking implements from the kitchen and go back and forth between there and the dining table waving the implement and intoning the following:
By wooden spoon and crescent Moon
By spice mill, sieve and knife
By spinach, potato and garlic clove
All foods that nourish life,
All meals and snacks and feasts herein
with any tool employed,
Shall be full-well nutritional,
un-fattening, and enjoyed!
Heed this charm!
Cause no harm!
So mote it be!