Is it possible to dream of spices? To suddenly be attacked by a yearning to smell and taste all the things that make a kitchen a hallowed refuge? The scent of cinnamon, the perfume of vanilla, the pungency of black peppercorns, the aroma of oregano, the tanginess of roasted green bell peppers, the golden pool of melted butter, the dizzying fragrance of fried garlic, and even the simple joy of cutting up baby carrots into lovely juliennes.
Then there is the sweet-smelling raw dough of chocolate chip cookies, and the black elegance of a triple-chocolate brownie mixture, before the oven fires turn them into their succulent, glutinous, nutty goodness. And if a bowl of leafy greens and a generous sprinkling of ripe tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, yellow capsicum strips should remind us of anything, it would be of languorous summer mid-mornings, when you would want to jolt out of the bed covers, and gladly run off to bathe under a tropical waterfall.
Even the pale pink blush of fresh tuna is a stirring sight, and when you sprinkle black pepper and rock salt on them, squeeze some lemon juice (or even our local lemonsito) over, wrap them in foil with a bit of lemongrass, and grill them over hot coals, they turn into slightly browned, juicy fillets that go very well with a nice cup of steamed white rice.
My daydreams these past weeks are of a cozy yet spacious kitchen with beautiful cabinets and huge French windows, a well-stocked pantry that houses some of the rarest finds in any supermarkets, and a mini-library that keeps my favorite cookbooks and biographies of Nigella, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain, and David Rocco, and a compilation of all the lists of herbs and spices from around the globe. I hope to have my library of herbs and spices too, especially the ones that I do not have as yet, like the expensive saffron, the elusive rosemary, and everything else that I can smell and sprinkle for comfort on long, hideous days. To have a teeming supply of extra virgin olive oil, bittersweet chocolate bars, velvety red wine, and plump, blushing strawberries. I shall hope to have a kitchen with cookie jars and chopsticks, bread baskets and crystal wine glasses, wooden spoons and oil vessels, even an authentic pizza stone.
And if no one objects, I shall gladly push my sofa chairs and coffee tables to the kitchen, have some friends come over, then dance and cook and eat the warm night away…