Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Heart of Our Home

My first memories of Momma's kitchen was a big round table with wooden chairs, a wooden high chair, a hoosier type cabinet which had a red and white work top plus a flour sifter.  There was also a hanging cabinet without doors, which was covered with a colorful feed sack curtain.  The Maytag wringer washing machine set under the cabinet.  The wash bench was filled with the water buckets and a dipper, the dishes were washed there and all of the family washed off in the kitchen.  The Home Comfort cook stove, beige and green porcelain with warming ovens and a wood box sitting on the floor close by.  There was water in the house, at this time, because the hot water tank was behind the stove.

The kitchen was remodeled before I started school.  Out went the wash bench, in came a Youngstown double porcelain sink with drain boards on each side.  Under the sink was the Youngstown 3 section metal cabinet with drawer and cabinet storage.   The fancy new sink with spigots for hot and cold water, drains in the bottom which carried the water to the cess-pool, no more buckets to carry out with dirty water.  The round table was replaced with a red formica table with matching chairs.  On the wall beside each side of the sink a hanging cabinet with doors, and so high, it went to the ceiling.   A metal kitchen stool and a little metal cart had all of the new electric appliances on it.  Momma made curtains for the windows from feed sacks, white background with hugh red flowers.

In with the new and out with the old.  Momma was so proud of her new kitchen.  The chairs were used all around the home.  The table was given to someone who needed it.  BUT the hoosier cabinet, the WONDERFUL hoosier was sawed into pieces and burned in the wood stove.

A few years later it was decided to add a 4 burner gas stove.  Several years after that, the Home Comfort cook stove finally wore out and was replaced with a combination wood burning and gas stove.

There was no work space in the kitchen everything was prepared on the red table. The table would be cleaned after the meal was prepared, with plates, knives and forks the table was set for us to eat. Spoons, there was a spoon holder which stayed with the salt,  pepper, sugar  and toothpicks in the middle of the table.

I have wonderful memories of the many different meals prepared in Momma's kitchen.  We canned, made pickles, jams and jellies.  When I smell bread baking, vinegars simmering for pickles, the sweetness of fruits as they become jelly, pies baking in the oven and chicken simmering in the blue roaster pan I think of Momma and her kitchen.   Momma had a very special ingredient she put into everything.  Love, lots of love for nothing made my momma happier then fixing a meal for her family.

My kitchen is a working kitchen not a pretty picture room.  I planned to make pasta, bake bread,  can, make jelly and pickles.  I need work areas.  I have a great kitchen, the builders thought I was crazy when I put 2 sinks in the kitchen and 1 in the pantry.  I guess those guys never had to drain brine from pickles and put fresh water in them.  I am not a spring chicken and any lifting I do not have to do makes me very happy.  My kitchen was planned by me, for me and I would not change a thing.

I have a Marsh kitchen cabinet with a flour sifter.  Mr.  Bootsie brought this basket case home in 3 cardboard boxes with some damage to several panels and painted white.  After much work, I have my oak hoosier, my most prized kitchen cabinet.

What a difference Momma's went out of the kitchen and became ashes.  Mine came in pieces was cleaned, put back together and finished with a warm oak stain.  As I sit here looking at my kitchen I remember Momma and her wonderful new kitchen.

Did I just hear Momma say?  "Go down to the basement and bring up some more potatoes,  I see a car coming and supper is almost ready."  Quickly she peels the potatoes,  slices them very thin and adds them to the pot.   As fast as you can blink an eye she is calling us to supper.   As I look over the table, can it be any better?  Creamed potatoes, butter beans and corn,  chow-chow,  pork chops with gravy,  homemade biscuits and a jar of molasses.  On the stove a pot of coffee is perking.   Momma turns and says to the company, "Oh, yes, there is plenty, we have already set another place."  Smelling the blackberry roll baking in the oven and knowing it will be cooling while we are eating supper,  the man says, "How could you not say thank you?"  Momma pointed to a chair and asked, "What would you like to drink?"

After the blessing, the man with a smile from ear to ear, as he looked over the loaded table said, "I have not seen a spread like this in a long time, the smell is so good, I could just sit here and smell the flavors."  Momma's words of wisdom,

                                     You had better eat something before it gets cold.