Culinary Balletics

February 5th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Often, while trying to maximize the multitasking efficiency of my kitchen perambulations during the meal prep and cleanup that are my brief reprieve from a solitary, deskbound life of translation—picture me going almost half moon pose to stow forks in a drawer while kicking shut the newly full dishwasher, or with divided mind hooking a foot in the refrigerator door even as I stir a pot’s contents to assuage their seethe and boil—I think of the little “waking-up” ballet that opens An American in Paris (and begins around 3:22 of this clip):


Gene Kelly greeting the day with a graceful transformation of his garret from bedroom to studio. With a hoist or a nudge, furniture emerges and vanishes, folding out or away; the whole room has that cleverness of train compartments, close nautical quarters, or those tricky Japanese pencilboxes all the rage when I was a grade schooler—press a button and a spring-loaded drawer slides open, another and out pops the pencil sharpener—somehow specifically pleasing and ingenious to children (and later in life to childlike designers). Perhaps because they promise interiors their size and unassuming outsides belie; perhaps because there is something magical about transformations, when we are young enough that not to see a thing is to doubt it exists; perhaps because they traffic in secrets and seem to increase the world’s store of hiding places; perhaps because they are small and we are small. Perhaps it is as simple as that.

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