Audre Lorde, in her excerpt “Spices” from her titled work Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, recreates the sense of child-like wonder of watching and helping her mother work in the kitchen through her now nostalgic, adult eyes. This is a retrospective activity we participate in over and over again throughout our mature lives, knowing that, as Lorde so indisputably put it, “Whatever came from home was bound to be special.”
Lorde’s focus in her memory of the processes her mother used while in the kitchen instead of simply looking at the food. I think that’s part of the reason why I connected so closely to her writing. The actions around the food make the memory.
A memory I often have is one of watching my mother bake peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in our kitchen, and then later on, when she was certain I wouldn’t burn myself on the stove (though I proved her wrong many times), taking over the household bakery.
It’s a sweet flashback, and one that speaks out to Lorde’s reminiscence to her and her mother’s time in the kitchen together. It’s a memory I go back to when I feel like I’ve lost myself in the mess of trying to become a fully functioning adult.
My memory always begins with the end of the first batch of cookies… Continue reading