Kitchen KarmaPosted: May 24, 2009
The most frightening place in any church is not the sub-basement. It’s not the rotting staircase leading to the bell tower. It’s not even that undercroft bathroom with the dated diaper changing table. It’s the parish kitchen. The place where you’ll find milk dating back to last Advent; the place where people reshelve lipstick-laden tea cups for next week’s coffee hour; the place where vermin feast on unswept up donut crumbs left over from the AA meeting.
The major problem with parish kitchens is that nobody ever feels empowered to throw anything out. Someone’s grandmother “graciously” donated a souflee dish (that was ugly, chipped, and one step from the garbage 50 years ago). But, since she was a pillar of the church, her ghost might forever haunt the culprit who decides to toss it. So there it sits collecting dust in the back of a cabinet.
Open any drawer and you’ll encounter both mismatched silverware, some containing forks with leftover bits of tuna casserole from the 1978 parish picnic, and an assortment of godforsaken utensils dating back to the Nixon administration. And there’s always a cabinet full of puke green clunky ashtrays. If you like to chain-smoke while making a cheese souflee with a rusty hand whisk this is your lucky day!
Last week a group of ladies, including Bryna, took matters into their own hands (and yellow rubber gloves). Six of them spent four hours scrubbing, throwing things out, and sanitizing our parish kitchen. Did I mention they threw things out? Bags and bags full of useless junk that no one will ever miss. They didn’t ask my opinion on anything and they didn’t want it. I wisely stayed clear of the proceedings.
By the time the whirlwind had passed through, the place was transformed. People were shocked and amazed. It looked like a place you could actually eat in without picking up the swine flu or whatver.
The next day, as I was leaving to do the early service on Sunday morning, Bryna lifted her head from the pillow and uttered a drowsy command: “Don’t mess up the kitchen.” I wouldn’t dare.