The Art of Homemaking

Rob and I came across this travesty of a television show at the beach last summer, and we were appalled as the hostess showed everyone how to make a Chili Omelet: beat some eggs, add chili from a can, salsa from a jar and shredded cheese from a package.  Garnish with fresh (!) scallions.  Okay, I've definitely cooked meals like that before, but do you really need a TV show to explain how to prepare it?

Truly, homemaking is an art, and in large part a lost one. Like any art, it can be hugely rewarding and extremely frustrating.  The scheduling is what does me in: to enjoy a meal, you need to have fresh ingredients on hand, which means you need to have a decently clean and empty fridge in which to store them, which means you need to have had time to clean it, and to go shopping, in the days before you prepare the meal.  It also means you have to have a place to eat the meal, which means there must be a slightly-uncluttered surface somewhere in your home.  And you need to have some sort of company while eating, or you'll wind up feeling depressed and making an unnecessary chocolate cake for dessert.

It's difficult to do all of that when you both work in the evenings, one of you until 8 and the other until 10 or 11.  But I find that when I get depressed or overwhelmed, the simple act of cleaning a small space or preparing a snack from scratch is calming.  Working with your hands is a reward unto itself.

When I am in the thick of school pressure and can't take time for domesticity, I love to read Pleasant View Schoolhouse for inspiration.  Anna's eye for beauty and detail are dazzling, and it never makes me feel guilty or inadequate to read about what she's doing.  I just gaze at her photos, drink in the descriptions and give a little sigh of longing for the day when I can turn to projects like bedspreads, and gardens, and dinner.

With the advent of summer, that day is here at last.  I recently did the flowers for the wedding of some good friends, and after the ceremony I took the window-bouquets down, knowing they wouldn't last three hours in the heat.  I brought them home,

Blue Delphiniums

Where I found the most perfect container ever for blue delphiniums.  Handmade by a potter on Antigua, clearly in anticipation of this very moment.  I had to clear off my table to get this photo, but it was worth it.