and the warmth of the kitchen

November 9, 2010 diario/journal, kitchens

I’ve been listening to the American group Colcannon, and in the wistful song Bermuda Line I found a great phrase – and the warmth of the kitchen with all the outside dark. The more I played the song, the more I kept seeing all the various kitchens I’ve known. For me, kitchens are safe places, places of great memories. I’ve grown up, laughed and cried in kitchens.

I think back to childhood and our kitchen in Aprigliano and all the fun I had in that room. It was big, at least in memory, and in one corner was my bed. What joy to sleep in the kitchen. Its window framed the mountain slope on the other side of the valley. The mountains were where the brigands lived – oooh! But they couldn’t get me in our kitchen. It’s the place where I picture my dad making Sunday dinner. It’s where my mom set up the brazier in the winter. Its circular, wooden frame was my race-track for hours.

I could sit in the huge fireplace and eat my dinner. One night I sat there and flicked fava beans into the ashes. (I hated fava beans.) When the first one disappeared, I believed I had found the promised land – free, free of fava beans. My stay in heaven was short lived. The next morning, my mom told me she had found the favas in the ashes.

On January 5, I hung my stocking on the fireplace hoping the befana would bring me torrone and toys and praying that she would not bring me coal. After all, I was a good boy. That particular year, the befana did not agree with my self-assessment and there were lumps of coal in my stoking. I was mad. Fifty years later, my mom and dad still remind me about the year the befana brought me coal.


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The image on the left is my first kitchen-picture. It’s my kitchen here in Pittsburgh. The espresso makers are all from Italy. (No electric espresso machine for me.) I love making espresso on week-ends. It’s 5:00 in the morning; the dogs and I are in the warm kitchen; they wait for some banana; I grind the beans; decide which espresso maker to use; fill the bowl to heaping, because I like my espresso strong; next I make toast then sit and read the New York Times – heaven.

I’m going to start shooting kitchens – my parents’ many kitchens, Rose’s kitchens, Mary’s kitchen, Connie’s cottage kitchen, Dave and Isabel’s luxurious kitchen, my friends’ kitchens, . . . any kitchen I can get into.


January 28, 2015 diario/journal, kitchens, reflections

pine boughs, tea-pot, toaster-ovensunrise – 7:33     sunset – 5:33
winter countdown – day 39 of 90

pine-boughsThe snow was so heavy on Monday that I needed to get it off the White Pine or risk it snapping the over-hanging bough. Using a broom, I hit most of the snow off the umbrella-like tree.pine-tree That got rid of the snow, but also broke off some of the small branches. Some info about the White Pine – it originally was a bonsai, and then one one day I put the pot on the ground to keep the soil moist and by the time I got to is again, the tree roots had started to grow into the ground. I’ve left it and now I have a huge tree growing out of a bonsai pot. Each year I sand off a small section of the main trunk in an attempt at creating a curve that begins at the pot-level and continues into the cascading green needles. The branch holding up the cascading branch is from the old fig tree. (The last time we had a major winter-storm, the snow toppled the tree out of its pot.)

At first, I left the broken boughs in the snow, but then decided that they could look interesting in a vase in the kitchen. It was well after midnight when I started shooting the images and loved the soft colors the non-flash setting produced. I particularly liked the retro toaster-over that the tea-pot and vase are sitting on. The wall, I stripped of plaster while Ronald Regan was down the street visiting a community employment program, the tea-pot is from an English dish set that I like and the vase is old carnival glass. (The vases were prizes at Kennywood at the various gaming booths.)


creamer salt-pepper copper
candle pitcher jar


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