Yesterday my friend Grace Young (Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen, Breath of the Wok) spoke on public radio about the Kitchen God who lives behind the stove in every Chinese American and Chinese kitchen. The night before Chinese New Year, on toward midnight, you start eating things like stir-fried lettuce, so that you eat right into the New Year. Meanwhile, my own Kitchen God is sitting back there, his legs up over the gas line, picking lint off his robe, counting dust bunnies, humming to himself, and waiting for the banquet which the thoughtful household leaves for him. He knows every bad thing you've done for a year, and he's ready to tell whomever will listen.
In my house, right now, behind my stove, he's cussing me out because there's a leak in a pipe right above the stove, and lots of cold water has dripped down, and the puddle I didn't catch in time has made his robe sopping wet, and ruined his little stash of stir fry and dried shrimp that he keeps for emergencies. In my house, the Kitchen God wears a thick green terrycloth robe with big pockets, and has his own vacuum cleaner because I am not a very good housekeeper. Last year a small rat visited him back there, and he was not smiling. (Although I think they shared a lamb and rice kibble from the dog bowl, and possibly that lima bean I lost back in March of '08.)
This year, I plan on leaving him really nice snacks and a small glass of beer for a week or so because maybe if he feels full he won't tell the others -- the Garage God, the Bedroom God, the Closet God, the Backyard God, etc. I just couldn't handle it if everything started falling apart.
To see more on Grace and her KG: WokitchenWisdom