Top | Sugarspeak Baking
(post, Jenny Weber)
I am a single gal living in this big bad city in an apartment all by my lonesome with nothing but my kitchen and web musings to keep me company on most mornings and nights. There is nothing wrong with it. I rejoice in it (sometimes). When do I feel alone? When I'm sick. With the recent publication of "What We Eat When We Eat Alone" or the popularity of books like "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant," or the countless movies and television shows and articles about cooking for one, or living alone, or enjoying the life of a single gal in the city, you would think that this entire world is full of nothing but people eating, dining, and living alone. You could also find yourself uttering the words, "how depressing." I can't help but think of the scene in "Under the Tuscan Sun" where, recently divorced, she inhales her dinner alone in her kitchen while standing at the sink. Okay, so sitting in my living room, still in pajamas, recovering from a horrible cold, and not being able to think of anything but "Under the Tuscan Sun" to reference is making me think, "how depressing." Let's move on, shall we? A little over a week ago it started with the slight tickle in the back of the throat. A couple of days later the throat tickling advanced to aching. And then one morning I woke to find my throat sitting closed in protest for the nose's audacity to go on vacation. There was sneezing and coughing. Achy eyes. Yes, the eyes ached. There was the trudging in to work, the trips for cough drops (quite surprised I did not overdose on those), countless tissue papers abused, cups of tea that might have been better and more quickly served intravenously, and finally the great collapse. The morning after the great collapse, feeling quite alone, with no loved one to soothe me to sleep, to make me tea, to gather me into their arms and sweetly sing all would be okay, I walked into my kitchen. Okay, walked is perhaps too strong of a word to describe the act of the drooping head that lugged dragging feet all of ten feet from my bedroom into my kitchen; regardless, I was in my kitchen. I took a small glass bowl gifted by a sweet friend, poured about half of a bottle of honey into it, sliced half of an onion, and coarsely chopped one clove of garlic together and immersed it all in the honey. I put the cover on the bowl and let it sit on my counter. Four hours later the water from the onion had seeped into the honey and turned it into a sweet sticky juice. It is my mother's home remedy for a cold. Two tablespoons of the concoction each day is supposed to cure all. Or at least loosen enough of the sludge that caused my lungs to rattle to bring on a cold-free morning sooner than any dosage of NyQuil could. Who knows if it really works. Who cares. For the first time, after almost a year in my apartment, I felt truly alone. For the first time, I was making my mother's home remedy while not standing in my mother's kitchen using my mother's ingredients and tools. The glass bowl was mine. The onion and garlic from my pantry. The honey purchased myself. I put them all together and I then ingested them. I was sick. Alone in my apartment. And taking care of myself. And while I felt truly alone I felt anything but lonely. With the first spoonful I saw my father's hands work at pulling the rind of an orange in one peel to make me a comforting pot of tea, with the next I felt the warm hand of my mother work through my hair as my heavy head slept soundly on her lap, with the next spoonful I saw the strong back of my boyfriend as he worked in my tiny kitchen to make me breakfast and to serve me smiles. Sick, yes. Definitely not as much this morning as I have been the past week. Alone, no. Friends, family, and love have taken up residence in the simple ingredients of my pantry.