Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mom's Farmhouse Kitchen

I made oatmeal/raisin/walnut cookies today. Or maybe I made granola. I'm not sure. Just after I mixed in the flour, I discovered I had made a serious alteration in the recipe and left out 6 tablespoons of butter. "Ah-hah", I said to myself. "That's why the dough doesn't look right." Then I did what any red-blooded, thrifty baker would do, I added the rest of the butter and mixed it in. Next came the oatmeal, raisins and walnuts. 

The cookies came out of the oven pretty crumbly — and pieces fell off that looked like granola — but they taste great.. So, whether we have cookies or granola, we're happy.

Baking today brought back memories of my mom's farmhouse kitchen. Pink and gray print  wallpaper covered the walls. The wood trim and doors were painted pink. A gray metal 1950's table served as a work surface, as well as our dining table. The matching chairs were metal with gray vinyl. We had an old Norge refrigerator, a Gibson electric stove and a steel Murray kitchen cabinet and sink combination —all in white. 

My mother spent most of the daylight hours in the kitchen, but I don't think it bothered her. That room was more than a place to prepare food and eat it. It was a place where secrets were shared, life lessons were taught, and the news of the day was discussed (really). I still remember my mom's White treadle sewing machine in the corner, and the day she taught me to stitch my first seam. And a rare, below-zero, early spring night my dad brought in a cardboard box and placed it on the floor, next to the heat register. When I peered inside, a perfect newborn lamb greeted me. Its mother had died giving birth. My brother and I bottle fed the lamb until it was big enough to eat on its own. An empty Nehi "pop" bottle with a big, black rubber nipple filled with a special formula, did the trick.

Somewhere in our storage shed is a box of old family photos. I'm pretty sure if I sift through it, I'll find a picture of that kitchen. I think there's one of a little, curly-haired girl sitting on top of the kitchen table with a birthday cake in front of her. Two candles are burning in the cake's center. A laughing, twelve year-old boy is sitting to her right; a seven-year old boy, missing his two front teeth, to her left. 

The older boy is gone now, along with the father who was watching, and the mother who took the photo with her Brownie camera. The other boy and the little girl are now grandparents and live thousands of miles apart. 

Tomorrow I may be too busy to remember the pink, gray and white farmhouse kitchen and the people who gathered there. . .but not today.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Philippians 1:3


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