Always, the Onions

In January of 2017 I took over the operation of a pay-what-you-can vegan lunch café here in the heart of meat-and-potatoes Midwest America. On December first, I gave myself a daily blogging challenge to write about this café, to tell its story, and maybe figure out a little of my own story in the process. This is Post #19.


The kitchen is cold when I arrive. I wear my quilted vest, keep my scarf tied around my neck as I put away the previous day’s pots and dishes, pull down ingredients for this day’s meal. Carrots to dice, lentils to simmer, onions to chop.

Always, with the onions.

I turn on the flame under the big cowboy kettle to heat the water for tea. The kettle is one of my favorite things about the kitchen. Another is the row of cauldrons lined up along the shelf above the cooktop, big round-bellied pots that have been stirred by so many people for so many years.

I like mornings in the kitchen, when lunch is still a few hours away, and I can move slowly, and I don’t have to talk to anyone except Freddie, the building custodian, who always gives me a weather report when he comes through to gather the trash.

The closer it gets to lunch, the fewer decisions I can make. But early in the day, I can consider everything. How the lunch plate will look. Whether to add a drizzle of chocolate to the dessert. I like that. The getting to decide, the having decided.

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