Thirty in Thirty Day 28
My Grandmother’s Kitchen
My favorite place as a child was Granny’s kitchen on Holly Street in Grove Park, a section of Atlanta. The house where my maternal grandparents lived was a small bungalow built in the 1930’s. It had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, dining room, a breakfast room and that wonderful kitchen.
The kitchen was not large, but it is where all of my best memories take place. It had a long yellow formica counter where Granny created culinary magic turning out pound cakes, biscuits, fried chicken, pies, and more. It was at that counter that I learned how to make apple pie and cornbread dressing just like my grandmother’s. She did not use a recipe or measure for anything she cooked so I spent many hours watching her work. She taught me to go by the smell of the combined ingredients before cooking to know when things were seasoned correctly. Whenever I make apple pie or dressing, I feel Granny’s presence with me as I take a sniff of the mixture.
I also spent many hours at the large white porcelain sink when I was younger. I loved washing dishes at Granny’s sink because she never worried about me breaking anything and she didn’t hover. She would drag up a stool for me to stand on, gird me with an apron tied under my arms and fill a plastic dish pan with soap and water. I would don a pair over large yellow rubber gloves and plunge into the suds. It was more like play than work. When I finished with the dishes, Granny would toss some empty wooden spools into the dish pan so I could blow bubbles through them. I still prefer to wash dishes rather than load and unload a dishwasher. Whenever I have a large load of dishes in the sink to wash I am transported back to that kitchen.
Another favorite spot in the kitchen was the drop leaf table that sat in the center.
Granny kept it covered with a white oilskin table-cloth. Even though there was much more room in the dining room or breakfast room on Sunday afternoons most of the family would end up in the kitchen clustered around that table. The leaves would be pulled out and all of the ladder back chairs from the dining and breakfast rooms were dragged up to it. The table would be covered in cups and tea glasses and plates, until my Uncle James lit up his cigar. Then the table was cleared and he would hold court. He would set to work telling stories and drawing and doodling all over the tablecloth with a blue ballpoint pen. He would draw caricatures of politicians and cartoon characters and speech balloons and funny animals as he smoked his stogie and told jokes and spun tall tales. The following Sunday the tablecloth would be miraculously clean and ready for the next installment. I started housekeeping with that drop-leaf table and 10 years later my brother took possession of it when he bought his first house.
Whenever I think of Granny, my mind drifts to that kitchen. It is a touch stone of my childhood memories.
What childhood place holds significance for you?