The Power of the Kitchen Table

This morning I had a flashback to a metal trivet that hung in my mother’s kitchen, right near the sink. I believe she placed it there when we moved in… and it didn’t budge until we sold the house fifty-five years later.

The trivet was black cast iron with a few flowers painted in red and yellow with some green leaves. White lettering read: Of all the places I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.

Why is that??? Is it because of the power of the kitchen table?? Of all the tables strategically placed around our houses… coffee, dining, end, picnic, hall… what makes the kitchen table so special? I mean really… the dining room table gets all the glory. Called into service only on special occasions, it’s the Grand Duchess of the home in comparison to the Cinderella kitchen table.

The dining table gets to play dress up with the fancy china, crystal goblets, and silverware, while it is lovingly draped in beautiful flowing linens. Finishing touches of flowers and candles lend a formal feeling to the air. Family, friends, and guests gather around it and laugh, and tell stories. A magnificent turkey (or roast) is brought to the table with a flourish and greeted with ohs and ahs. Manners are on high alert and the meal ends with an extraordinary dessert! Wow!

Meanwhile… back in the kitchen, Cinderella has been relegated as a catch-all area. When the kitchen counter seems too small, the kitchen table steps up to fill the void. Dirty dishes, flour dust, seasonings, and food containers cover every available square inch. It took a beating, but still stands proud, happy to be of service.

The rest of the time the lowly kitchen table is the hub of family central. Kids spread their school books out and do their homework while dinner is being cooked by the parental unit in charge. Impromptu visitors gather around the table to chat over a cup of tea and slice of cake. Got a craft project to do? Spread everything out on the kitchen table. Need to roll out a pie crust? The kitchen table has plenty of room. Need to have a family discussion? Yup, the kitchen table is the place to hold it.

Every nick, scratch, pen mark, marker or crayon stoke means someone sat there and created a masterpiece. Oh, if only kitchen tables could talk… just THINK of the stories they could tell.

High-top kitchen counters are trying to push the table out of the lime light… but so far it hasn’t taken over rural America. It’s just not the same. Dinner time should be ‘family time’… sitting in a circle around a table encouraging conversation. Not all in a straight line staring straight ahead, or worse eating while watching someone else still cooking and cleaning.

If you knew my family life when our kids were small, the above statements would strike you as funny. Every night I had dinner on the table when my husband came home from work. Every night we would sit in our usual seats. Every night, after admonishing the kids about their elbows (or forearms) on the table, to chew with their mouths closed, to sit up straight, and eat their peas… he would ask each child what they learned new that day. At least once a month one child or other would leave the table in tears. Once, a little girl eating over one night was the one to get up and run upstairs in tears. I GLARED at my husband.

That kitchen table heard me assert myself one night and declare I purchased a much desired Mini-Van WITHOUT my husband’s permission. It beamed as my daughter introduced us to her serious boyfriend.. who soon became her husband. It served as a Christmas tree one year when I couldn’t afford one and stacked the donated Poinsettias in a pyramid in the center. It became a support when my son and I held a very serious conversation through the use of post-it notes and a pen… because we didn’t want to speak out loud and be overheard. Years and years of memories were made at that table.

The kitchen is considered the ‘heart’ of the home. I guess that’s true… and I guess that is why guests feel so more at ease there. Life is less formal in the kitchen. Coming in the backdoor is considered an honor… being deemed a friend as opposed to a guest. It’s kind of like taking a peek behind the curtain… at where the magic happens… a happy place.

Looking back, I find it strange my mom’s trivet hung on a wall in a kitchen without a table… or any space at all to visit while she cooked. It was a dark and cold north facing room without a hint of comfort. My family ate every meal at the formal dining table. Hmmm… Curious.

What stories would YOUR kitchen table tell if it could speak??

Pinterest – My Morning Coffee

Pinterest doodlesSome people can’t start their day without a hot, steaming cup o’ Joe. I’m not one of those people. Instead I choose an hour of Pinterest to get my motor running. Yup, Pinterest. What? You’re not on Pinterest? What are you waiting for?

A few years ago I was sick in bed, and bored beyond belief. My daughter mentioned something about this new site named Pin-Interest, so I grabbed my laptop and began typing. I didn’t get the concept right away. Virtual bulletin boards? Followers?? Huh? But then I saw a recipe for the yummiest little snack… mini-pretzels topped with a Hershey kiss and tossed in the oven to melt just a bit. I think it was topped with something else, perhaps a Peanut M&M. I pinned it… and I never looked back.

Currently I have 107 boards with almost 10,000 pins and hundreds of followers. I pin anything that piques my interest. I’m big on pinning quilts, watercolor inspiration, great photos, yummy food, and things for the house. I even have a board titled, ‘In My Spare Time’… yeah, right… like we all have plenty of that, right?

I have made a few things I have ‘pinned’… but mostly I use the boards as inspiration. I have even posted things that I have done… and people I don’t even know have ‘pinned’ them. It’s really a jolt to be scrolling through someone’s board about creative lettering and you say, “Hey! That’s mine! I did that!” At first it seems a little creepy, but then a bit of pride seeps in. Someone in this Universe who I don’t even know (nor ever will) thought something I made was worth remembering for the future. Wow!

One of the things I have become interested in lately is designing greeting cards. Mostly I’m using my own artwork and cool quotes from books. Some days I have a ton of ideas, and other days I can’t think of a blessed thing. That’s when Pinterest comes to my rescue.

Now I spend my mornings on Pinterest to get my mind spinning. Sitting at my desk that overlooks the lake, I pull out a sketch pad and pens and begin to draw things I like. I pin them too… you never know when I might need to take another peek at the inspiration. For example… here’s a few pages of drawings and quotes I did yesterday:

doodles1

 

A lot of these drawings are a copy of someone else’s work, and that’s OK. As I scribble and color, my mind moves in to another dimension and eventually I begin to draw my own things. I look at the process as jump-starting a car battery. It needs help from another battery until it can function on its own.

doodles2

No matter if it’s a cup of coffee, an hour of meditation, a 3 mile run, or an hour on Pinterest… I hope you all have found your own pleasurable way to start the day.

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I’ll end with a quote I found on Pinterest that has stuck with me for a few days…

“Let your love give your Heart wings to fly and soar”

Keep smiling!!!

Deb

Club 520

Ya know… we woman are a fickle bunch. We can be your best friend… or your worse nightmare, it all depends on the moment.

We all have our special ‘tricks’ and favorite little things that make our lives bearable and homes running smoothly. If we like you, and feel you are worthy… we’ll share them with you. Trust me… it’s a fine line sometimes and making the choice to share or not is not always an easy one.

Take my family for example. When I was a young newlywed, my sister-in-law gifted me with a cookbook for my birthday one year, The Main Line Classic Cookbook to be exact. This cookbook is a compilation of local resident’s favorite dishes. All of the females in my new family had been given a copy of this cookbook at one time or another. I am certain that through the years of family gatherings, I have tasted every recipe. Some were good, some were horrible, but most were delicious and soon became family favorites.

mail line cookbook

One Christmas Eve I served the Filet of Beef stuffed with Lobster Tails… OMG! As it was cooking I couldn’t decide if my mouth was watering because of the luscious beef smell wafting through the kitchen, or the succulent tender lobster scent. Drool ran down my chin as I continued cooking the side dishes. My mother called it ‘The Last Supper’… because it was ‘to die’ for.

My world-famous Banana Bread recipe came from this book… although I have to admit I tweaked it a bit. And even though I know the recipe by heart… I still turn to page 137 as a reference. Herbed Green Beans, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cheddar Cheese Soup, Scalloped Potatoes in Garlic, and our family’s all time favorite Scalloped Pineapple which MUST be on the table each Easter dinner… have all come out of this book. I have spilled and splattered so much over the years… and opened and closed it so many times… that my book disintegrated. Thankfully I was able to order a new one.

My mother LOVED this cookbook, and read it like a novel, licking her lips as she imagined what the dish would taste like and how she would adjust the seasonings before turning the page. She decided only ‘special’ people could have this book… and heated discussions about my brother’s dates ensued. She relented only when they were married!

Aprons… Personalized aprons are another item given only to those who prove themselves. Years ago, in another life I owned a monogram shop with a high-speed, professional embroidery machine. Aprons were a staple in my store… always the perfect gift for the person who had everything. Tradition was set early in our family to give each new bride a personalized apron as a shower gift. I no longer have the business or the machine, so THAT tradition has slowly faded.

Now that I have a few more years under my belt, I enter yet another secret club… The 520 club. My sister-in-law in Atlanta began it, and willingly shared her wisdom.

Last weekend after dinner, she pulled out her lipstick at the table and began to glide it along her lips. I commented, “I’m a ‘chap stick’ kind of girl and never wear lipstick. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just never found a color I like.” (Truthfully… I would rather set my hair on fire than stand at a make-up counter deciding which color looks best on me). That’s when she made a snap decision… and announced I need to go to CVS and purchase Revlon #520 (named Wine With Everything). She exclaimed, “It looks good on everyone!” Apparently she has been spreading the good word about #520 to everyone who will listen… Her sisters, her neighbors, and fellow Zumba participants. 520

This afternoon I drove to CVS, walked directly over to the Revlon section, scrutinized the labels for #520 (they are not in numerical order), picked up the last one… and bought it! As soon as I got in the car I flipped the light on by the vanity mirror (I swear, this is the first time I used it in the 10 years I’ve owned the car) and applied the lipstick. I was a little hesitant at first, since the word ‘pearl’ was on the label. As a teenager I read once the shiny pearl look came from fish scales and vowed NEVER to wear anything that came ‘pearlized’… Ick!  I’m hoping things have progressed in this day and age… and fish scales are no longer an ingredient.

Smacking my lips I looked in the mirror. My sister-in-law was right… I liked it! At first glance I thought it was a little too dark, but it quickly wore on me. I now wear lipstick!!! Imagine that!!!

I urge all females reading this post… RUN, don’t walk to your nearest Revlon counter and join club 520!!! Wearing a fun new lipstick really boosts your self-esteem!

Go wild!!!

Lipstick 520