Leon Wieseltier Reviews His Kitchen

The question of the place of the refrigerator is not a scientific question. It is an issue of taste and instinct. Refrigerators, being elephantine appliances that I despise with every fiber in my being, can’t account for why people purchase so much food. And yet these mammoth boxes grow bigger and bigger, and it is not an insult to one’s aesthetic sense to say so. If the refrigerator can be said to be the cornerstone of any kitchen, then it would be difficult indeed to top the disgust I feel every time I enter my own kitchen and make a roast beef sandwich.

There is a certain orthodoxy to these midnight pilgrimages, the tedious rumbling of the stomach that promises indigestion after a meal, these strenuous efforts to keep me alive through ignoble viands while applying my poison pen for a Tanenhaus assignment or declaring my appreciation for any and all assfucking memoirs. Again, I refer not to the refrigerator alone, but the general notion that one must keep up a kitchen. Why am I compelled to keep the kitchen stocked rather than order takeout? There is a malicious havoc when contemplating these trusted routines and realizing that my expansive home possesses a room for the preparation of food, with its cabinets which must be filled with cans that I may never use and its drawers filled with limitless kitchen gadgets and Emeril-manufactured pans. My kitchen then is a document which reveals my own bitter impulses. I cannot find a way to transmute this room into a source of joy. I stopped feeling euphoria when I turned thirty.

The kitchen flatters itself that it is some kind of second-string dining room. And for those ignoble apartment dwellers in the Bronx, I suppose it is. The kitchen theatens to subsume my attention and does not absolve itself. Its cabinets demand that I stock it with limitless cans and its drawers expect me to fill them with flatware. I believe it was Aristotle who once said, “If things do not turn out as we wish, we should wish for them as they turn out.” I have been wishing my kitchen into some kind of resolution for many years and it still does not prove pliant or complaisant.

If my kitchen could be styled a corporeal entity, I would want to sodomize it. I would want to snap its head back and pull its hanks of hair hard with my hands. I’d want the kitchen to be my bitch. I would want to apply painful clamps to its nipples and hear my kitchen scream, “Leon, my master! Please! Please! Please don’t stop!” My kitchen is such a disreputable millieu that I wouldn’t even give it a safe word.

What this shallow and self-congratulatory room establishes most conclusively is that there are many architetural hymens to be borken.

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