Today was my first day cooking at the new restaurant. I did well and the learning curve was pretty steep. Thinking about my day, particularly in the context of these days of waiting and watching, led me to this poem.
I’m standing at the stove, staring into the sizzle,
waiting for the right time to turn the salmon.
The exercise is not new, but the kitchen is.
My mind tosses about like fish in the skillet,
wondering how context changes character,
what it means that I’m playing a new room.
I’m being me yet I have to wait to be recognized.
Jesus was cooking fish on the shores of Galilee
the morning Peter recognized the cook
and dove into the water to get to breakfast.
He walked the Emmaus road – Jesus, that is,
but no one recognized him until he broke the bread.
Not exactly cooking, but food let them see who he was.
That’s about as far as I can push the analogy except
to say I want to be known in the broiling and breaking,
to be seen in the motions of memory and making.
A day will come (will it?) when I grab the baby bok choi
out of the walk-in without asking someone where it is,
and in a moment no one else will probably notice,
I will feel recognized and received. For now I’ll cook
and wait for home to burn its way into my heart.