I cleaned and oiled my wooden cutting boards today. I do that about 4 times a year. First, I cut a lemon in half and sprinkle the board with some rock salt. Then I scrub the board with the cut side of the lemon, the salt acting as a gentle abrasive. When finished, I wipe it down with paper towel, and then oil it well. The oil penetrates the wood, preserving it and giving it a lovely sheen.
It is a beautiful process, the cleaning and the oiling. Tactile and intimate with these boards that serve so well in the kitchen. They are old and tell a history across houses and states, but always with the view of the kitchen. They hold the colours of beetroot and pomegranate and turmeric, a little kitchen rainbow of recipes and shared meals.
Then I oiled the wooden handles of my French knives. They shine now, proudly holding their oily wetness. In celebration we spend an hour together, just the knives and I, chopping vegetables for tomato paste. For dessert, a gentle Indian custard.