The Kitchen: The Heart of the Home

Brittany Fan
Brittany Fan

I love to cook. Perhaps it’s the creative gene in me, finding joy in creating something for others to appreciate. Every once in a while, that lands me in the Study Center kitchen, whipping up a spontaneous dinner for my friends, creating a five-course meal before a black-tie affair, making an impromptu cake for late night studiers, or flipping pancakes in the morning after the last exam of the semester is finally over.

Oddly enough, those occasional cooking sessions actually make up the lesser fraction of my time in the Study Center kitchen. As weird as it may sound, I do my schoolwork in the kitchen, too. So add in hours of paper writing, emailing, photo editing, and procrastinating, and you arrive at a monstrously large amount of time spent at the kitchen counter. In that time, I’ve come to appreciate the kitchen and the many ways in which it reflects the Study Center’s incredible impact on a day to day basis.

They say that the kitchen is the heart of a home. The same could be said about the Study Center kitchen. It serves as a hub of activity, a different kind of space at the center of the building. Every day, an endless supply of coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and cider serves as a welcome sight to the many students and staff with busy days (or nights) ahead of them. A heart pumps faster for a body hard at work, the rate of coffee brewed here works just about the same way, increasing with the semester’s workload. Occasionally food appears on the kitchen island, and just as quickly disappears into the mouths of hungry college students grateful for the unexpected blessing of a snack break. I often hear the disappointed sighs of students who discover a lack of ice in the fridge, a telltale sign of the fact that it’s been a busy day around here. People pass through and stop to chat for a minute and end up staying for an hour. Strangers who come through often leave as new acquaintances. I witness all sorts of things during the semester.

A birthday surprise complete with a litter of puppies. A late night pizza delivery for someone about to start a paper that probably should have been started three days ago. Pure chaos as students pour in for exam snacks during finals. The cutting of paper snowflakes because let’s face it, crafts are more fun than studying for that test you have tomorrow. A person frantically running in to say that the upstairs toilet is overflowing, or a full-on theological discussion stemming from what was supposed to be a 30-second coffee break. You never know what could be happening in the kitchen, but there’s almost always something.

I occasionally wonder if I need to re-evaluate my life when anyone refers to the Study Center kitchen as my “office”. But there is legitimately something to love about this space. The buzz of energy, the spontaneous and intentional interactions that occur here, and the sustenance provided in this room demonstrate how the Study Center makes a difference in students’ lives in so many different ways, each and every day. At the core of this building, this room reflects how the Center for Christian Study not only provides a space for learning and studying, but also encourages students, genuinely cares for them, facilitates fellowship, and fosters a community that brings together the beloved sons and daughters of God.

If you are reading this and are also someone who uses this building, I wonder how this place has made a difference in your life? How have the rooms and the people that occupy them blessed you? Maybe you’ve made a new friend over a cup of tea in the kitchen. Maybe you’ve stepped into the office of a staff member and walked out with a better grasp of a challenging faith topic. Maybe you’ve written one too many ten-page papers in between the library stacks. Maybe you’ve attended an unforgettable event or lecture in the back room, or maybe you’ve sought out much needed time with God in the prayer room. Maybe you’ve seen me behind the kitchen counter, and wondered “Does she ever leave?” (The answer is yes, I do.)

I love hearing the stories of what this place means to others! The next time you step foot in the Study Center, I hope you’ll take a moment to think about what it means to you. And then stop in the kitchen to say hi and tell me about it!

Brittany Fan, CLAS '14, Curry ’15