My apartment has two rooms, a kitchen, bathroom/toilet, and a veranda. The veranda is nothing special, just a windowed, closed-in balcony. On summer evenings, it’s my favorite place to be. At dusk, the temperature is cooler and the sun sends slanting rays through the trees, making the leaves glow. I can hear the kids playing in the street below while the old women look on and occasionally scold a child for being too rowdy.
My kitchen can only be described as “third world” by most westerners. My oven will not close unless a knife is inserted in the jam. My cooking utensils primarily consist of a soup pot, a boiling pot, a frying pan, a spatula, a bucher knife and a plastic chopping board in the shape of a lemon. I have dishes and flatware and all that too, but when I need to make breakfast or dinner, I have no microwave or cuisinart or blender. I don’t even own a can opener. Most of my greatest culinary achievements have occured here. The dishes that I’m most proud of: my hot and cold soups, cereal, spaghetti sauce, etc. were mastered with no more than these tools. I like making packaged foods because they’re easy: there is two to ten minutes of waiting and you’re done. But no package gives me the earthy satisfaction of having chopped, stirred, tasted and perfected dinner. Of smelling garlic and scallions and tomato on my fingers. Of feeling one with the earth.
When I am done cooking, I go back to the veranda and feel alive. Now that it is summer, I am innundated with life. That is, life at it’s most basic – when it is smelly and dirty. Life when it is peaceful and good.uzbekistan