Monday, February 20, 2012

Cellars are all the Rage Again. Or Should I Say - Culinary Caves

Photo: Audrey Whitmeyer-Weathers for SF Chronicle

Just saw in the San Francisco Chronicle that storage cellars are back again.
Of course, they don't call them cellars out here.  They call them (get this!) Culinary Caves.

This is just an example of why people outside of California just roll their eyes when someone mentions California.

Here in "Wine Country", wine cellars and "caves" are of course common, but now "Culinary Caves" ( big eye roll) are creeping back into favor too.
Ok...that's that.  Let's just call them what they are...Cellars.  Maybe they are built on the side of a house into a hill, but still...really.
They are pretty though.  Nice photo, Audrey.

I love the smell of a good old fashioned cellar - always have.

Just writing this, I can smell the old cellar under the old farmhouse - musky and damp, the scent of the potatoes off in the far bins.  My mother's canning jars all lined up in a row on their shelves, dusty, with daddy long leg spiders resting in the crevices of the rock walls. I have no problem with dirt and spiders and bugs in general. I am amazed how so many people are terrified of them, and for no real reason that they can express.

However, I was always really scared of our cellars when I was young. Come to think of it, I don't think it was so long ago I had some dream of something chasing me into that cellar. There were two cellars.  One was direct under the kitchen storing vegetables and canning,  and the other - well, the egg cellar was not only the cellar where we stored farm fresh eggs, but also my fathers old bee hives...and bees.

Let's just say, I had good reason to be scared of that cellar.
Bees flew around your head while running in and out of it to get eggs or something out of the large freezer.
Dad used to raise bees - outside.  Then he stopped and stored the old hives in the cellar - and the bees followed through a crack in the foundation.

One of my earliest memories - I was 6 or so, in the cellar getting eggs and a bee flew into my ear and stung me. It was some of the worst physical pain I ever experienced, and there was no going to the doctor for a bee sting, or pretty much anything else unless you were gushing out blood - and sometimes not even then, as my brother can attest.  That was then. That was farm life.

Still, one day I would like to have a cellar, probably cut into a hillside, if only to walk into its coolness and breathe in the scents.

I will not, however, call it (big eye roll) a Culinary Cave!
And definitely no bees allowed. 
                                                                                                                         copyright 2012 Stepka

Oh, and if you would like to check out the SF Chronicle article, here is the link.  I do really appreciate the stonework  artistry of Zdravko Terziev who builds these "Culinary Caves"/ Cellars.  All kidding aside, they are beautiful.
Digging a Space for Food