Happy 2011 everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and the New Year has started out safe and warm and happy.
When I think of a "vintage" kitchen, it's not just food that comes to mind. I remember my grandmother sitting at her kitchen table the better part of the day starting everyday at 5:30 a.m. to prepare my grandfather's breakfast before he went off to work first shift at the mill. Breakfast done and he was out the door before 6:30 and once breakfast was cleared away, my grandmother began the daily ritual of preparing lunch/dinner. Grandad came home for lunch, which was always a full meal with plenty left to warm over for dinner.
As a young woman, my grandmother was hit by a car and ultimately had to have both kneecaps removed. I remember thinking of her and my grandad as Jack Spratt and his wife because my grandad was tall and slender and my grandmother was petite and as years of physical inactivity accumulated, somewhat wide. I can still see her walking around the kitchen table, holding onto the edge of the table from sink to stove and back again, doing what was necessary to prepare the family meals. Moving from room to room required crutches and later, a walker.
While she couldn't do much else, her handicap didn't stop her from preparing delicious southern meals daily. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, fried pork chops, gravy and rice (face it, folks, "FAT" is a bonafide food group in the South!) but always with fresh vegetables and homemade biscuits and something yummy for dessert.
The kitchen was her domain and friends, neighbors and family members spent precious time there, discussing life over a meal or a cup of coffee fresh and hot from the percolator.
When she wasn't at the table, she was in her favorite chair in the "den," the room right next to the kitchen, where she watched "her" shows. She did not miss General Hospital, for one, and she loved Wild, Wild, West. She called Jim West "Tight Pants," and coming from my soft spoken, white-haired grandmother, this was hysterical to us kids. Her bedroom was next to the den so while they lived in a two story house built in the 1900's, with a total of 11 rooms, she seldom went beyond those three connecting rooms. She didn't leave the house often, maybe twice I can remember, but she made the two-hour trip to see me married. A strong Christian, my grandmother was always a champion for the underdog and the one who taught me unconditional love. I still miss her.
So in honor of my grandmother, in addition to recipes new and old, sometimes we'll just sit around the kitchen table and talk, over a cup of coffee. Anything you'd like to dish about? Any relatives that made an unforgettable impact on your life?
March Favorites: Food + Fun.
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