Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Kitchen

In l975 my mother-in-law from the south was moving in with us for the summers. Our two teenage daughters were growing and taking up much more space. At the suggestion of Aunt Cile, my husband’s aunt, “why not take a jar of homemade plum jam up to Mrs. Perkins, in the next block, to let her know you are interested in buying her house when she retires”. We had heard rumors. And, this she did in the following year, the jam proved beneficial.

It was a five bedroom rambling two-story that needed remodeling back into a single family home. I began on the downstairs kitchen, creating the closest I’ve come to a dream kitchen. First, we exposed two of the double-brick walls, keeping the old solidly build wood cabinets, painting them a white enamel for easy cleaning, using black hinges and handles. A deep, dark red sink with a brass goose-necked faucet was ideal for washing anything, plus canning easily. One of my prizes I found was an old Chambers gas stove from the 1930s for $125. This came from the old Pine Street grocery store at the corner of Pine and Folsom, I am sure few remember this store. It had a griddle, which rolled up exposing the broiler underneath, very strongly built, all clad in stainless steel and white enamel. A warming shelf on top, with a cover for the entire stove, which was rarely used.

There was too much cooking action to keep it covered.

Another part of this kitchen that was loved by all was the breakfast nook. These are almost impossible to find anymore. It was build in an arched alcove with simply carved high benches and a wonderful solid table, two of the pieces which were moveable. Many good times were spent eating and sharing intimacies in this cozy space.

Much to our dismay, we were saddened to learn later owners eventually scraped the nook for a more open space. Maybe there wasn’t as much a need for that kind of warmth and togetherness anymore. Or each generation finds it in their own ways. Just as long as we keep gathering together in our intimate cozy places for sharing our love of food.

Patricia Jordan

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