A while ago, say, three bras ago, I wrote an essay called A Life in Eight Bras. Here’s a taste:
My house is filled with hot spots. Not the warm, cozy kind, but the little storms of matter and memories that amass when one woman, one man and three little boys live together under one roof.
Take my bra drawer for example. It’s the middle drawer of my night table; not a typical place for bra storage, but just the right width to hold a collection. They sit, facing forward, one behind the other, like measuring cups stacked together on their sides. I flick through them like I’m scrolling through a recipe box, each bra evoking a stage in my pre- and post-baby life.
It was published in Understorey Magazine – vital writing and visual art by Canadian Women. You can read the full story here.
I didn’t think to share the essay in this space; my notebook is a place for stories that start with food, not breasts and bras. But I changed my mind after interviewing Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett for my podcast. Ellen is an apron maker. She began as a chef, wearing ugly scratchy uniforms in professional kitchens, and one day thought – ‘wait a second, I can do better than this.’ And the story goes from there. We didn’t talk about bras on the podcast. Or breasts (but I know she would have). Instead we talked about being brave, celebrating all the flavours of life, reaching for the stars, managing people and climbing through windows when there isn’t a door.
While writing the intro for the episode, I realized that I had a new essay to write – A Life in Eight Aprons. Here’s a taste of the intro:
My aprons don’t have a place of their own like my bras. They’re all over the place – hanging on hooks and tucked into drawers. I even have a few layered between mixing bowls in the cupboard, left there after I used them cushion the pyrex as they travelled to a photoshoot.
But each apron has a story and a purpose.
there’s the hot pink linen apron from my days working in ceramic shop in Notting Hill, I swept the sidewalk in that long apron, I dusted dish ware and made sales. I wore it over jeans and my white converse peeked out the bottom.
I am a domestic being. I work from home. I’m happiest listening to a podcast in my kitchen, wearing an apron, smelling dinner in the oven, writing a little, hearing life around me, and from time to time, meeting the culinary needs of boys before they become a demand. Food is woven into all of this – sustenance, work, anticipatory aromas of good things to come, lists for tomorrow. This space, this notebook about food, is really just about life: aprons, bras, tears, laughter, flavour, family and food.
My bras are still in my nightside table …facing forward, one behind the other, like measuring cups stacked together on their sides… I still scroll through them as if searching for a recipe in a recipe box.