The year is 1984. I am thirteen years old. My four siblings and I are living in utter squalor in an old farmhouse in a shitty little redneck town in Oregon. My mother left my father – and her five offspring by sheer coincidence – a year earlier. Dad is out drinking, wallowing at the bottom of a pit that would be a ten year long drunken spell. Tomorrow is thanksgiving. Dad will come home long enough to roast a turkey and we will have a Kimm family dinner. It’s late at night, and I am making pies. My four-year old sister, the youngest of my siblings, is sitting on the counter next to where I am rolling out a crust. She is desperately trying to stay awake. Her bare feet dangle over the counter and her little hands grasp the edge as her eyelids slowly droop shut…and pop open again! In this manner The Keez, short for Keezer, short for Mckenzie, manages to stay up until I slide the pies into the oven and carry her off to bed.
My kid sister, now 30 years old, spends even more time and energy in the kitchen than I do. She is committed to preparing the highest quality food (her mantra is all organic all the time) and is excited to learn everything. We recently spent a couple days together, during which she taught me: how to bake the best angel food cake I’ve ever tasted, how to create an entire Jamaican style dinner of grilled jerk chicken with dipping sauce, fried plantain and spicy slaw, and how to make hollandaise for eggs benedict. I showed her how to bake bread and make corn tortillas.
I left home for good in 1986, so The Keez and I didn’t have much of a chance to grow up together. These days, I find it deeply heeling - and a whole lot of fun - to spend time with my adult sister in the kitchen, our hearts at home.
To see more photos of cooking with my sister, go to: Cooking with The Keez on facebook