There are the splatters of bacon grease that freckle the stove top.

And the tinkling sound that accompanies the breaking of glass, like when I accidentally knock over the French press that we’ve owned for exactly one week.

There are the stray clumps of flour and butter smudged on the counter tops.

And drips of ice cream on the floor.

Soiled and crumpled paper towels litter the place.

The blaring of fire alarms still rings in my ears from a smoking oven, as the remnants of spaghetti squash cook off its bottom.

This is the mess that is my kitchen, but if you squint hard enough, you’ll see evidence of hard work, effort, and love.  It’s the midnight snacks, the glasses of water in the middle of the night, the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners prepared together, for one another and with one another.

This kitchen isn’t showroom ready or even Instagrammable.  There have been dirty tennies placed on the counters where I’ve rolled out pie crusts.  Sometimes it smells like onions for weeks, and don’t look now but there’s dirty silverware marinating in the sink.

Relationships show the same wear and tear.  They have the rents, stains, and wrinkles - with my initials attached.  All those things that I wish were nonexistent or, at the very worst, could have remained under wraps.  Those scars and symbols of ugliness which have been a representation of how I’ve felt or things I’ve said, sometimes in the heat of the moment and sometimes with cold calculation.  There’s rubble from minor explosions that I’ve set off on a weekly basis and also a desperate path that’s been cleared through it, swept daily by both of us.  The unwavering policy through it all is one of honesty and communication, and it is with those two things that everything is exposed.  It’s only then in a relationship that a person is truly naked.

In those moments, it requires faith and trust to keep from hiding in the shadows.  It is humbling to be imperfect before those who I would like to be The Most Perfect for.  Standing bare in front of those on whom I rely on for their understanding and patience, and I cross my fingers that theirs is much longer lasting and more resilient than mine.  I’ve constantly told myself that imperfection is a result of not trying hard enough when it’s just a side effect of the human condition.

It takes a special eye to peer through the disorder and see the true beauty of a relationship, of what’s been built with the remnants of skirmishes and battles, through partnership and compromise.  Perfection - is that really what you would want in either your kitchen or relationship?  Where then is the evidence of creation, of improvement, of celebrations and mourning?  To get dirty and live through a few minor explosions and emerge whole and improved is a proud badge of honor for both a kitchen and a relationship, is it not?


  1. Love this essay, Rooth:) Perfectly describes what a relationship is really about, and also, cooking....:) "Perfection is the enemy of the good."

  2. My relationship is exactly how you described your kitchen. There's wear and tear. It's messy, and at times it plain disorganized, but I love it all. And you're right, it takes a special eye to see through the mess. That's how I see my relationships :D

    As for my kitchen, the OCD in me can never let my kitchen messy after I cook. I just go crazy to the point that I won't sleep until it's tidy again. Is that weird?

  3. Ah, I know what you're talking about. Unfortunately, I'm not fairing all that well on this front. My kitchen is a mess! ;)

  4. I'm never thought about it that way but you do make a fine point. I love how mess in the kitchen also translates to love hard work and effort you've put into making a meal.

  5. It sounds like we have the same cooking technique. If the smoke alarm hasn't gone off, it's not done!

    I totally agree that relationships are best when you accept someone's imperfections for what they are. Otherwise, why bother.

  6. I realised this week how good my relationship is whist I've been sick as a dog. AND he cleaned the kitchen. Sparkling...:)

  7. There's something to be said for a home having a lived in look, whatever the room. It's more real.

    But clean the kitchen! :D

  8. I love this metaphor!!! The next time I have silverware in the sink, I'm going to remind my husband of this. Hehe

  9. Interesting metaphor between kitchens and relationships. For sure, both my kitchen and relationships show wear & tear. I can't stand kitchens on IG that are spotless. Seriously, that's not real life.

  10. Yes. This. Exactly. All this nitty gritty. It's what life is really about after all.

  11. ahhhh. a lot of we in there :)))

  12. Hmm, good words.

    Also, I'm glad to hear your kitchen is not perfect. I had to laugh last week after making a three-layer cake for a friend's birthday--flour EVERYWHERE, and it looked as though I'd dirtied every bowl/utensil in the house--and frosted the counter. Weird that you never see a scene like that on food blogs/shows. :)

  13. I want a kitchen and a relationship where things get made... not one that looks beautiful and empty. Astute analogy.

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  14. It is humbling to be imperfect before those who I would like to be The Most Perfect for... Rooth, I love this post. It's beautifully written and heartfelt. Plus I can relate 100%. I keep squinting...

  15. Very wise words about relationships! Oh, and I destroyed my French press as well.


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