There’s a very sensible reason why I chose the name of this blog. And then there’s the real reason.
If we’re being practical, onthestove.net meets all of the recommendations for a website name: three words or less; all words in common use; no difficult spellings; easy to say and remember; evokes the ethos of my brand. All of that. It even has a nifty double meaning – literally what’s being cooked; and a reference to the literary naming convention of calling a treatise “On the…”.
It’s all very clever.
But writing all that satisfied me intellectually even as it left me cold.
Here is the real reason behind the name:
I chose “On the Stove” because those words transport me to my little white stove. I am peering into a pot. The smell is immediate. There are tomatoes in that pot, just turning from pale and slippery to stiff and crimson. I feel hot. Not the near-to-death heat of frying wontons in the middle of an Australian summer, but the full-body warmth that comes from intimate proximity with a simmering liquid. My hand flits down to the temperature knobs, nudging them up and down, almost subconsciously. I know that stove as if it was a part of my body.
The vivid moments in my life come standing next to that stove – even more so than sitting at the table eating what I’ve cooked there.
Just like the hearth in previous eras, that gave warmth and food (and gods and goddesses and customs and ritual and layer upon layer of significance), that stove is the centre of my household. It is where I stand when I’m not working, and where my family comes to find me to ask “Are we going soon?”, or “Where’s my work uniform”, or “Why does water bulge a little above the top of a full cup?” (1)
The stove is the place at which ingredients from outside our house become the food we consume as a family.
Writing that gives me a thrill. I want to run to the kitchen and scrub my stove; to perform an act of worship with crème cleaner and a scouring pad.
So join me as I immerse myself in the possibilities of cooking, and explore the ways that people through human history have turned ingredients into food. And please, let me know – what’s on your stove?
(1) “Not yet”, “In your wardrobe”, and “Surface tension”