Monday, December 5, 2011

Homeward Found: Coffee

Happy Monday lovelies!

Today, I am excited to bring you a beautiful guest post by my good friend Kara of Homeward Found!

Each of her posts is named after a culinary word that she feels represents her state of mind (or whatever is simmering / brining / baking / roasting in her delightful kitchen!). Kara writes, "Food is a touchstone and a medium for me. As I’ve moved deeper into my culinary career, I’ve let my written words fall by the wayside, where they were once my sincerest form of expression. As much as I may not want my creative voice to rely too singularly on food, it is my first language: it comes naturally to me, it is a way in which I challenge and sooth myself daily. Finding the first ripe thorned berry, steeping rose geranium in cream, it’s these moments, discovered or architectural, where I find confidence in the unknown. And I feel that there is a food for every moment, just as an aura has a color (so I hear) or every mood a song. So may the one source lead to the other: food as a form of literature, of meaning."

I find great joy in reading each of Kara's entries and I hope you do too!
SO. Grab a cuppa something warm, nestle into your desk and let's get this Monday started!


I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker. When in South Africa I accidentally weaned myself off of caffeine altogether, mistaking the classic rooibos tea for something more breakfast-y in its intentions. Returning to work at my San Francisco restaurant, spoiled by an old Italian espresso maker, I treated myself more and more to frothy macchiatos made on the fly. For me it’s like chocolate: only worth it if it’s dark, aggressive, a treat.

These mornings I’ve had either more time at home or more of a social craving for the stuff. Being back in a kitchen work environment, coffee is a communal mainstay, a promise we make to ourselves to ease through the day, however fast our feet fly. It is the first thing shared, paired with inquiries of what was for last night’s supper, how our weekends were. On my mornings off, I sit down and write. I’ve committed to three blogs now, this one and two others, and I wake to traipse out to the stove and set the pot to simmer, scald the grounds with water, gather my senses and stretch my legs while I wait to plunge the french press. Then a little jersey milk and a favorite mug and back to my desk. It’s routine: comforting, familiar, an awakening collaborator to mornings both lazy and charged.

I love mornings. It has become more and more important to me to savor them, allowing extra time each day before heading to work, legs limber and breath alert before I leave home. Time spent with the pup, a barefoot circle tread around the yard, the bed made and the house ready to be returned to when the day’s work is done. Especially now, living on my own, my mornings are entirely my own, and I adore the rawness of feeling my senses set in, my muscles strengthen with gentle use, the depth of my sigh. I love guessing at the day by the shade of the sky. Washing a quick dish while peering out the window, gauging the breeze. Tucking a toe outdoors to decide how many layers to wear. These little meditations, the companionship of early hours, the mystery of a day.

About Kara:

Kara studied creative writing and art history at Sarah Lawrence College before moving to San Francisco, where she attended Tante Marie Cooking School and began her foray into a culinary career. For the past six years she has worked as a pastamaker, line cook, baker, pastry chef, cheesemonger, and wine buyer in both San Francisco and Portland, Maine. She moved to Austin, TX. in November 2011, where she will work for the ever-inspiring Dai Due. Kara has held tight to her love of writing, however, and in addition to creating Homeward Bound is a regular food+drink editorial contributor for Culture Magazine and The Austinist.

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