You’ve heard it said before, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Do guests ‘counter sit’ in your kitchen at parties or family gatherings? Does your family sit around the kitchen table every evening for dinner? Do you regularly host holiday dinners, where half the guests sit in front of a football game and the other half are laughing in the kitchen? Let me tell you what the kitchen means to me.
The kitchen so strongly brings memories of my mother, who raised five children and served countless dinners from her kitchen. Sometimes, when I am fixing dinner for my own family, I think of her chatting animatedly as she chopped vegetables or stirred a stew. I remember her favorite utensils, like the colander that, when turned upside-down, made a perfect space helmet or her ‘stabbing fork’ used to test the doneness of potatoes or to pull a roast out of a pan.
My mother agonized, asking, “…is the turkey too dry?” every Thanksgiving. We all wore pasted on smiles and ate like little soldiers when she accidentally used rancid olive oil in the spaghetti sauce. Everyone still tells the story about the exploding pork roast… which didn’t happen just once, it happened TWICE. My sisters loved her corn chowder (I hated it) but I loved her Spanish rice. She made a mean turkey soup, roasting the turkey bones before making the stock to ensure it had maximum turkey flavor. A great chef she was not but her kitchen was where comfort food was king, made with unconditional love.
My mother has been gone twelve years now. Family dinners are on me. As I teach my daughter to make her way around the kitchen, I think of my mother and the passing of the baton. Family traditions are born in the kitchen and there they will live forever. As you design your new kitchen, keep these traditions in mind. Choose cabinets and countertops that are beautiful and functional; that will stand the test of time. Make your kitchen the heart of your home.