Sunday, March 25, 2007

#52 - In the Kitchen

On the one year anniversary of Sunday Scribblings, what could be a better place to confabulate than "In the Kitchen?"

A big congratulations and thank you to Laini and Megg for their dedication, perseverance and fortitude in provide us with a place to stretch our literary wings!

A votre sante, and another year of scribbling.

I grew up in a home with a stay at home mom whose avocation was gourmet cooking. Just around the corner from our house, a block or so away, was Aunt Nellie's. Aunt Nellie was my Dad' aunt, but she was my "grandmother." She was an earthy type who loved to put meat and potatoes dishes of a French Canadian persuasion on the table. Suffice it to say that all through my growing up years, the two homes I frequented most often were always redolent with the delectable aromas of home cooking. It must be added here that both my mother and Aunt Nelle worked in kitchens so small that two people in them at the same time was a crowd.

Some of my best memories, past and present , are centered around holidays and family gatherings. The fragrances emanating from the kitchen were aroma therapy for my being. It can easily be said that I am a visual person, but I think my sense of smell is most likely the second most important sense with witch I interpret my world.

A whiff of the bouquet wafting from the Thanksgiving or Christmas kitchen to this day is a guaranteed mood elevator for me. Roast Turkey, stuffing with sage impregnated poultry seasoning, fresh baked rolls cooling on the side board, pumpkin and apple pies sending cinammony aromas to the core of my senses, and of course the aroma of fresh ground coffee beans mingle complemenarily with the attar of freshly brewed cafe. These are the smells that spell home for me.

The kitchen for all of its pungent smells, piquant aromas to be savored is more than just a food preparation center. Perhaps in many, but at least in our home, the kitchen is the nucleus around which the whole family's activities revolve.

In our house the kitchen is the gathering place. The room for food prep and eating, for reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles and staring at the weather. We talk, chat and argue in the kitchen. I listen to music in the kitchen, either from the radio or from the stereo speakers I installed to carry the sounds from the main stereo. We spend time everyday after the evening repast bonding with our two cats in the kitchen.

Our kitchen is small, so during family get togethers it quickly becomes over crowded, and that's just the way we like it. There aren't enough kitchen chairs, so you either retrieve one from the dining room or you stand, lean or even sit on the floor. But you would never go to another room. A melange of conversations flow...bouncing off the 12 foot ceilings and usual appliances. All the while sipping wine, drinking beer, nibbling, sampling and just enjoying each others company.

Our kitchen serves as a repository of books and collectibles, a showcase for new and old photographs, as a reception area, an office, a central booking room, a bulletin board and a calender of everyones appointments and activities. It is a pantry, a mini wine cellar, a library of cook books, a place of traditional, slow or microwave cookery. It's basketville and a storeroom for dishes and crockery.

In past years our kitchen served as the mayor's office where many village decisions were discussed and made, as well as school board decisions, and budget building sessions. It was a place where interviews and advice sessions took place. I think I even hypnotized a client at my kitchen table more than a few times.

In our house the kitchen is a warm comfortable room where family, friends and visitors tend to congregate. A place that sparks and stimulates the senses with a bouquet garni of aromas. It is a classroom where one can learn family customs and rituals, storytelling and conversation. A place to learn table manners, how to set a table. And how to share the chores!

Viva la cuisine et bon appetite!!!!

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Blogger Bohemian Mom said...

Wow, such wonderful childhood memories.
I love how your kitchen is multi-faceted nowadays and serves all those purposes.
It's hard to find homes now where the kitchen is still "the heart of the home".
Great post! Thanks for sharing the fabulous photos too!

10:26 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Wonderful photo and great kitchen reflections. Kitchens come a long way and still are heart of the home.

10:42 AM  
Blogger PEA said...

My growing up years were very much like yours where food was concerned. My mom was also a stay at home mom and she loved to cook big meals...every day...with lots of desserts! We always gathered to eat our meals at the kitchen table...I continued that tradition with my own boys. I know that a lot of people prefer to go eat in the living room in front of the tv but that was never for me. As you said, a kitchen is so much more than just a place to's a gathering place for family and friends:-) Hope you're feeling better dear Rel!! xox

11:06 AM  
Anonymous tongue in cheek said...

Thank you for gathering us around your kitchen table and sharing your memories with us. I can smell happiness there!

11:18 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Wow! Great post. It is funny how people always tend to gather in the ktchen. This last weekend we went to a birthday party at a HUGE house...but about ALL fourty or so guests were crowded into the kitchen! It was funny.

Your kitchen looks like a good place to hang out.


12:18 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Oh Rel, I could almost smell the aromas in your families kitchen. I'd love to hang out with you at your table in that cozy kitchen.

Hope the meds are helping.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Jerri said...

Like Tammy, I could smell the aromas you describe. What a wonderful glimpse into your past and present. Blessings to you and yours.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

What a wonderful post, Rel. Your childhood memories of food, family and happy times in the kitchen gave me that good down-home feelin'!
Hope you're feeling better!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

Oh, I am really hungry now after reading your post! Our house was like that, too, in that there was never enough room in the kitchen for everyone but darned if you could get anyone to move into the spacious living room! It just wasn't as homey or inviting as the kitchen!
Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories and kitchen with us!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Mardougrrl said...

Between the pictures and the succulent prose, I'm STARVING now. I loved your childhood memories of being in the kitchen...and I could smell those rich, velvety food aromas.


3:51 PM  
Blogger jellyhead said...

Your kitchen sounds like such a warm, friendly place to be. I loved this post - such a feel-good piece of writing!

Hope you're feeling back to normal again, Rel.

5:30 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Your kitchen looks and sounds like a fabulous place to be! So many memories you and your family have made there - wonderful - proof that the kitchen is truly the heart of the home!

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Thanks for inviting us into your heart of your home. I can envision what a wonderful place your kitchen must be.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous KG said...

I love reading about the memories of your family's kitchen and also of your Aunt Nellie's. What a gift to be surrounded, geographically and emotionally, by such wonderful smells, meals, connections and warmth.

Your post proves how truly important the kitchen is to living a full life. Inspiring.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Great post, Rel.

I've always believed the kitchen is the centre, the heart of a home. Mine here in my cabin is small too, but I've prepared many a good meal/s out of it. I'm expert at the art of juggling when it comes to cooking!

I think food must be the most discussed topic in the world! I know it's a very popular subject between a particular couple of friends of mine and me. We frequently laugh when we realise we are back talking about food again...and again...and again...

11:23 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

That was wonderful Rel! My kitchen is the same, small when my Mom, sisterin law and I get out there doing the dishes together but I wouldnt have it any other way..we laugh as we do the dishes ( I have never owned a me its a can do a lot of thinking or have great conversations while doing the dishes.) And I have done some great cooking in that little kitchen. In the summer my deck is right off the kitchen, we go out there and eat, talk or whatever. I have a gf who says if she ever builds a new house she is not putting a kitchen in...just vending doesnt enjoy cooking. I love cooking in my kitchen!

12:55 AM  
Blogger Rowan said...

It's funny how everyone always gravitates towards the kitchen at parties isn't it? This is a nice post full of lovely domestic images. Hope you are feeling much better again now, have the antibiotics done the trick?

1:46 AM  
Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

Oh Rel, what a wonderful word picture. I could smell the aromas and hear the conversations. Can I come and visit?

5:05 AM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

What a lovely, warm, colourful, alive and noisy kitchen. And the food smells divine! Excuse me! I said, the food smells divine! ;)

6:54 AM  
Blogger ian russell said...

wonderful words, remiman. you have the sort of kitchens I like - so why have I only lived in places with tiny kitchens?! one day, one day..

8:46 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

After reading this post, I felt an urgent need to cook a five course meal! You described the sights, sounds, and most of all the aromas, of your kitchen (s) so beautifully.

Thanks for sharing this...but now I've really must go get something to eat!

10:39 AM  
Blogger Churlita said...

The kitchen is my favorite room too. Your fridge looks exactly like mine. I'm a HUGE fan of refrigerator magnets.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Jone said...

What woderful chhildhood memories. I can smell the food from here. I love the photos of the kitchen as well. Thanks.

9:06 PM  
Blogger M said...

you paint a fantastic picture with your words!

8:45 PM  

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