I didn't learn to cook anything more significant than Ramen, scrambled eggs/omelets, or grilled cheese sandwiches* until I was thirty-eight. The few times I tried, disaster ensued - the most notable of which included Irish Stew With Enough Cloves To Induce Instant Numbness and The Beanloaf That Would Not Die. I had no idea how much spice to put in anything and was lost without a recipe.
One evening, for no reason I can discern, I took it into my head to make vegetarian chili. Having been in Texas for eight years and eaten enough Mexican food to qualify for some kind of honorary citizenship in said county, I thought I could figure out what it ought to taste like, and how to make that happen.
I actually succeeded, and despite the lack of meat, the First Husband was mightily pleased. This is how I started cooking. My repertoire is limited to what I call Mexican Stuff, Italian Stuff, Asian Stuff, and WASP Stuff (casseroles and meatloaf - I, the vegetarian, can and do make a wicked meatloaf. It is 2lbs of beefy goodness, apparently), but neither of the Husbands or my Housemate/Co-Wife To Be seem to mind.
What does this have to do with witchcraft, you ask? Well, the kitchen seems to be turning into my Hearth. I got marching orders from Them about getting the house in order by Samhain, and the kitchen has been the focus of most of my efforts. I am now rather possessive of the countertops, somewhat retentive about dirty dishes actually going into the dishwasher and not just into the sink, and now consider sweeping inadequate for floor maintenance (think Shop-Vac).
Maybe it's all the cooking I've been doing recently. Maybe it's that the kitchen is where everyone's preferences and needs have to be taken into account and balanced on a daily basis. Maybe it's that cooking is still a little like alchemy for me (look, turning meat into food is turning lead into gold for an aesthetic vegetarian). But there is definitely something going on down there, and I can't wait to see where it takes me.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go soak some beans.
*I did, however, manage to produce baked goods like a fiend, including a Venus of Willendorf Cookie for Cakes and Ale. Go figure.