Making Home


Economy should mean the upkeep of the household - οἰκονομία, household management. This is why I was quite intrigued by a post on Apartment Therapy by a certain DianneS.: "I'm interested in the angle of homemaking as an act of rebellion ...The quiet rebellion ... was the act of individuals who chose their own experience and histories over the government's insistence that there nothing of value existed before the Revolution. 
"So how does the concept of rebellious homemaking play now in this era, scattered as we are among so many disparate but joined cultures? ... I think homemaking is practically perfect as a statement for modern rebellion against a whole host of imposed constraints."
Many times I think about how if there is no one to "make" the home, the places where we live are but abodes - not homes. I would be intrigued by such things, having lived in over twenty places on several continents in under four decades. 
          The things that can never come back, are several -
          Childhood - some forms of Hope - the Dead -
          Though Joys - like Men - may sometimes make a Journey -
          And still abide...
This is a fragment of an Emily Dickinson poem, written on the back of a coconut cake recipe. Our recluse Dickinson sent food to her neighbours - and like Rapunzel, let down, not her hair, but basketfulls of bounty. 
Such are the gestures of the home, at least in my mind, but then, I do tend to abstractions and daydreams more than is my due. This evening, I found a recipe for Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake, and made it with the following ingredients (adapted from the recipe at the link): 1 cup whole grain flour; 1 cup white flour; 1.5 tsp baking powder; 1 cup brown sugar; a bit of vanilla sugar; 0.25 cup butter, 0.25 cup virgin coconut oil; 2 eggs; a tad over 0.5 cup milk; 1 cup coconut "flour" with enough fruit tea to make it moist. What a success.
I was thrilled by allowing my ingredient constraints and tastes to alter a recipe once used by an author who kept me company when I was a child. I felt that in some small way, I was entering history in a way I doubt my writing ever will. Cooking is an act - so much more literal, direct than writing... For, to my mind, the whole point of writing was to make a home for myself where circumstantial constraints disallowed one.
We can make a journey and still abide, but to my imagination, the home is far superior. Yet since I have never really had one, this is but conjecture. 

Watercolour dots. Bread suspended over image from Marie Claire Idees.

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