Hot summer days were spent canning in my grandma’s kitchen. You would enter and a million things seemed to be going on simultaneously while my grandmother beckoned you to come in and sit for a spell. Sweet tea was always ready to be poured and a hot lunch was prepared fresh every day promptly at noon. Squash, green beans, cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, biscuits, ham or some other meat, and tea. Don’t ever forget the tea. This is life in the country at its best.
My grandmother in the suburbs was just slightly different. She would be in the kitchen baking. Every counter would have some type of icing covering it, and when you looked in the refrigerator, there would be empty Cool Whip containers full of various colors of more sweet icing. I would get to help myself to any color I wanted. The Kitchen Aid mixer was full of cake batter and wonderful smells were coming out of the oven. Parfaits were ready to eat and all I had to do was grab one. If I spent the night, I got to eat fresh caramel popcorn balls that my grandfather would make or he would take me up to the store for an ice cream cookie sandwich. Food was everywhere all the time. Even with this much sugar around, my favorite was deviled eggs sprinkled with paprika. It was truly a magical experience to be in the kitchen with either one of my grandmothers.
Sigh. Enter my kitchen. It’s not that I don’t like food, don’t get me wrong. I do. I just wish it would magically appear like it did when I was little. Watching Paula Deen on the Food Network reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen full of sugar and butter. Going into my kitchen reminds me of the music they play when Darth Vader approaches. I feel like I am on trial. Every now and again, I’ll make something really great and delicious. The meal will come together in an easy way, and my kids will tell me I’m the best mom ever and that they love my food. Those are the moments that remind me why my grandmother was in the kitchen so much. It makes you feel all warm and tingly. I really do envy the folks like the Neelys, bless their hearts, who seem to be having so much fun in the kitchen. Maybe one day I’ll walk into the kitchen and hear something other than the “Imperial March”, but sadly, today is not that day.
“If music be the food of love, play on.” ~William Shakespeare