December 23, 2009

Heart of the Home

"My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me. It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future."  Pearl Bailey 

This house I live in has a mystique, a quiet soul that you can almost feel when you walk in the door.  Kelly told me one day that when she walks in she feels immediately comfortable, somehow, immediately at home.  I'm not sure if it's the color of the paint on the walls, the way the couch is centered in the living room or the fact that we've had some of our best conversations and parties here, but there is a definite quality about our home that makes you feel like it's an old friend.  

Kevin and I bought the house over 5 years ago and learned the history of it, which included facts about the 3 generations of family that built and lived here, the "Ezetta's".  Supposedly, Charlie Ezetta sailed on a ship from Italy and set to work immediately building this house for his wife and one for his cousin, right next door. (Gayle lives there now)  Long, whole pieces of fir were brought in through the windows and the floors in the kitchen and bedrooms were sanded down but originally left bare.  There are beautiful built in book cases and gorgeous original moldings that surround and frame the 8 foot ceilings and windows.  Milbourne, across the street has lived in his house for over 50 years and tells stories that his parents told him about how the Ezetta family entertained constantly, inviting Italian entertainers, some of them famous musicians and singers, traveling through Portland to stay with them.  Stories of family gatherings and multiple course authentic Italian meals were the highlight and reputation of the neighborhood and our house was the heart of it... when the house was young, around 1935, there was a full kitchen in the basement as well and handmade pastas, breads and desserts were cranked out October through January at all hours of the day and night to appease the appetites of family, friends and visitors that filled the Ezetta house.

If there is such a thing as a house having a soul, I am completely convinced this particular one does.  When I'm in the kitchen I feel it, the connection to family, warmth, and the fundamental importance of making delicious food for my own family and guests.  During the holidays I often wonder if Charlie and his family are still somehow watching how their home is being opened up to a new generation, new friends and a new family.  Sometimes I wonder if they approve of how we are continuing their traditions by cooking and serving delicious heartfelt, homemade food and filling the house again with the comforting scent of sizzling olive oil, garlic and onion in the pan. I wonder if partly because of the history and memories made in this kitchen, the food is more delicious.  

Maybe the love left over in a place, the feeling of celebration and the creation of memories is sort of a magic seasoning.

1 comment:

  1. I could easily sense that as well in your home. It is definitely a lovely place to be.

    Merry Christmas.