We are kitchen people.
We used to say that a lot. The kitchen is where we hang out. Where the action in the house is, where you can hear the most laughter and where we gather.
On Bowen Island, we had a big kitchen, and someone was always in it. Some of my fondest memories are of people pushing hands, and making tea, in that kitchen, during training camps.
Our house in Sechelt has a smaller kitchen, but it’s open to the upstairs. Company hangs out at the big table, and who ever is in the kitchen, is still part of the action.
I’ve taken over the kitchen domain since moving to Sechelt.
I did it on purpose. I chose to learn how to cook. Now I say silly things like — “Get outta my way, and “Don’t watch me” and “That doesn’t go there.” The stupidest thing I ever said was, “That’s not how you load a dishwasher!”
On Boxing Day, I was doing the kitchen chores when an overwhelming love and memory of my mom washed over me.
My mother was a kitchen person, but not until her kids had long left the house.
She was a good cook and baker for Jack and the many clubs and social events she was part of. She was famous for her cream puffs and meringue. Two things, I’ve not even tried to make, and two of my favourite deserts.
What got me thinking about her though, were two items that are part of our kitchen.
The little cast iron dish she used to melt butter for our pancakes, and the painting of the Patron Saint of the kitchen – San Paschal.
Mom was a crafty. In 1977 she gifted me this small cutting board with San Paschal when I married in 1977. I think she knew I’d need the help in the kitchen.
I’ve hauled San Paschal with me ever since.
The cast iron dish, I took after Alice died in 2003. She had a lot of shit, yet only a few things, that really make me think of her. That cast iron dish is one of them.
This Christmas was the first time I used it! I melted butter in it for our Christmas crab dinner!
I know the most important things in life are not things. Yet, sometimes we need the things to help us remember what’s important.
I miss Alice.