Moving kitchens is like moving souls

Moving kitchens is like moving souls

Moving is never fun.


I know it’s supposed to be cathartic and refreshing and bring in waves of positive new beginnnings… and I can’t wait for that. Really. Because all I am feeling at the moment is exhausted.


I have spent the last month slowly packing up my life at no 3 Idalia Court, which I called home for 4 and a bit years. Yes, it was overly cluttered and yes as a 100 year old lady, it had it squeaks and creaky at 2am that would have my heart skip a beat… but oh, how I did love it there! I loved it there for two main reasons. One is this perfect little teatime balcony…




… along with this small-but-tall, open-shelved, charmingly baker-cenrtic galley kitchen:







Alice-25 Alice-1


This kitchen really did form the nucleus of all activity in my apartment come afternoon tea dates with mates, themed dinner parties, 3am post-dancing munchy session, Sunday breakfast cook-ups or Friday evening baking nights in. And ask anyone who knows me, they have found me arriving to greet them on the that little balcony apron-clad, whisk-in-hand and a better, happier person for having spent a few hours alone and dirtying bowls in there.


Sure, it had it’s frustrating aspects; one puny sink that could barely fit a dish, let alone multiple baking trays, wiping down crockery on the reg due to open shelving from ceiling to floor, floors that seemed to swallow up whole pieces of fallen cake into cracks I didn’t know existed while sweeping… but you know what? It was my heart. It was my sanctum and I lulled many an anxious afternoon away opening my recipe books up and getting busy. That’s why, as any baker or cook will concur, moving kitchens is a little like moving souls ( the only thing more heart-wrenching is moving studios). They are the repositories for whispers between friends over hot-chocolate, they are the spaces for creating meals intended to share, invite and nuture. There is so much good energy in a well used kitchen because there are so very many intentions set while preparing food for those you love. And they seem to get trapped between the dusty flour bin and the sprinkle-filled jars.
In a way, even the lack of space in this kitchen added to its charm. An intimacy was created by friends and flatmate’s popping themselves on the counter tops ( tea mug clutched in hand) or on that Wonderland-sized turquoise blue chair, to chat while I prepare batter or roasted veg or cleaned up. I really loved having people over into this cave of too-many-kitsch-things and I have a feeling they liked it too. Because there were so many secrets spilled, and events examined, and dreams dreamt up in the hours of conversation.


I always knew exactly where I would put the hooks up, and add extra shelving to, and just how many more pots I could fit in if the counter was extended a few cm’s out. I dreamed up a better space, and I think as people we are constantly doing that. Feeling out the spaces we inhabit like new leather shoes. Knowing that with our touch they will become better suited to what they are intended to do. That’s one reason I have always loved the kitchen spaces of creative people because for some reason, all sculptors and painters and photo-takers, sewers and writers are bloody good cooks. I don’t know what the link is? Maybe it has something to do with being open to the senses… and having a desire to use one’s hands that makes creative thinkers, also very much creative cooks.

We shared many first together, this inanimate Victorian room and I. I baked my first challah with by my sister Em, my first tarte au citron from the Queen of Tarts, my first fritattas that became a staple when I lived with Jools, made my first macarons and choux-pastry buns that my flatmate Stephen was employed to judge at any odd hour. IN fact,  I prepped for The Great South African Bake Off ( who knows how) in those two hectic weeks when the very being of myself seemed to merge with the kitchen like butter cubes amalgamated in silky French Buttercream.

Anyways, my rational brain tells me that any much loved kitchen, like a good curry, can be made from scratch, every time. And I look forward to the future Synagogues of Friday evening baking and potential culinary Churches of Sunday morning fry ups, that are still to come. (This very moment I am managing in the confession-booth-sized hotel kitchenette of grubby’s while I move between homes). Wherever there may be jars of chocolate and blocks of butter, and an almost equally heated oven, there can be a happy baking Alice. I do hope I have left this little galley space a slight bit blessed with the scents of baking vanilla cookies and anointed by batter splats that are probably, still being discovered in every corner of it.


Thanks ( again) to bestie extraordinaire and professional clothes-tosser Claudi for the weekend stints, as well as to my extra strong and buff  Julz  for making lifting boxes look so easy.

All images are courtesy of Nick Gordon and were taken for that Superbalist feature in which I spoke so much that he could barely take a picture of me without my mouth open.


And just because it’s Thursday… #TBT









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