The Kitchen

February 15, 2015 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Every kitchen is basically the same. There is a fridge, a stove, a sink and perhaps a kitchen table with chairs. In home economics we were taught about the kitchen triangle. This was a way to design kitchens so that the cook could work most efficiently. Less steps, more fun. Okay, fun was never the goal we were taught. We were taught practicality. The goal was to get a proper nutritious meal on the table in as short of time as possible.

I spent a lot of time in kitchens when I was a young child (birth to preteen). I was my mother’s youngest daughter and very much a homebody. When she went to tea/coffee with the neighbours, I almost always tagged along. Grandma F was next door, Mrs. S was across the alley, Mama H lived down from my mother’s parents. Grandma F would let us use her oven to bake our “mudpies”, Mrs. S’s house was attached directly to the back of the library and Mama H’s grandson was my first kiss.

We would also visit aunts and uncles regularly, especially in the summer. Aunt B’s kitchen was small & crowded. Aunt A’s kitchen was a typical open farm kitchen. I didn’t spend much time in these kitchens; us cousins were sent into the living room or outside – usually outside- to play as the grown-ups gossiped in the kitchens.

We meet deeper in kitchens. We visit deeper in kitchens. Living rooms have too many distractions – there is a radio or television in the corner lurking, begging to be turned on.

Not my current kitchen

Both sets of grandparents moved into town when I was a child. They traded small country kitchens for modern 60/70s kitchens. The appliances were all brand new sets – the fridge and stove matched for the first time. I don’t remember what colours they choose. (Did anybody ever choose Avocado Green?) I missed the old, crowded farm kitchens where we would all gather after meals to do the dishes and chatter.

When I was a new teen, my father moved from a house in Banff to a trailer in Canmore. The house kitchen was obviously my stepmother’s domain, the trailer’s kitchen seemed to be more my father’s domain. I remember her making us soup for lunch in the old kitchen while in the new kitchen, my father attempted bouillabaisse and homemade ice cream. This was also the kitchen where my eldest half-brother unjustly got into trouble for baking bread.

There are nine of us kids. Half of us cook well. The other half just feed ourselves. What is the difference? Cooking well means experimenting and enjoying the numerous appliances and kitchen tasks. Feeding yourself involves quickly just using what you have to make a meal. My eldest sister has a comfy, homey kitchen where she prepares marvelous holiday meals. My eldest half-brother, though he is more likely to get tense & stressed, enjoys experimenting with new and exotic dishes. My middle sister and her husband have a synchronous kitchen relationship – one is more of a perfectionist, one is more down-home. My youngest half-sister specializes in healthy dishes. My eldest half-sister specializes is the new and pretty dishes. The other two (middle half-brother and half-sister) I haven’t spent enough time around to gauge their ideas about cooking and cooking stlye.

Not my current kitchen 0

I spent Saturday afternoons every Saturday, the year I was sixteen, baking. I attempted cakes and cream puffs and fudge. I liked the middle of the cream puffs the best. My chocolate cookies are legendary. I can’t do pie crusts at all. My fudge never turned out. It didn’t matter, my younger brother ( a substance cook) would eat it anyway.

I can feed myself (and others if the need arises). I made a mean pot of soup. My chili is passable – better always the longer it sits. Chili should be eaten after it’s sat for three days! I can make Lasagna but it’s too much work when there’s just me to feed. (I impressed a man with it once).

Cast-iron

I’ve spent time in tiny apartment kitchens, cooking and visiting. Laverne’s kitchen in Montreal produced an amazing pot of chili though there was as many art supplies in the room as kitchen supplies. I’ve had tea in Avis’s kitchen as a group of us spent Sunday afternoon writing surrounded by the scent of herbal tea and being tolerated by cats. I’ve cooked in tiny basement kitchens that never saw the light of day but were filled with love and laughter.

The kitchen my ex-husband and I cooked and entertained in was a tiny apartment kitchen. He cooked – he was a much better cook then me and I cleaned. I missed his kitchen skills most when we broke up.

Valentine Banner

Kitchens need people in them to be true kitchens not just show room kitchens. Perfect appliances, lovely cupboards, large pantries and pretty tiles do not a kitchen make.

Neighbours, friends, and families bring life, light and love to a kitchen.

We meet deeper in kitchens. We visit deeper in kitchens.

Kitchens should be the heart of a home.

On this Valentine’s weekend, I wish you life, light and love (and a kitchen filled with the same).

February’s posts will be inspired by the Ray Bradbury Noun List.

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1 Comment

  1. Blueberry Muffins & Red Wine [a letter] | Ramisa the Authoress said,

    […] Solitary Spinster The Kitchen […]

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