Last week I walked down memory lane with my Great Uncle’s garden and this week I shift the focus to the kitchens of my childhood and the ladies who ran them.
Everyone has their most important room in the house and the kitchen is a major focal point for me. I realized when I started writing this blog that it stems from the love my Aunt, Grandmother, and Mother had for their spaces. The kitchen has been and is a place of gathering, laughter, play, and so much more for these women. This was the place where they showcased their passions and their moment in the spotlight before the ones they loved.
In keeping with tradition I also included a beloved recipe in this post. Whenever you visited any of these women, you were always served a meal or snack and walked away with wrapped leftovers for later.
Eddie and Lucy making Sweet Bread!
When I was reviewing the blogs that I have written for the past few weeks I realized that I have been focusing a lot on my Uncle Bob’s house. It’s not surprising given that it was a central gathering place for many holidays and a scene of many warm memories. My inspiration for this week’s blog came from the knowledge that the women in my family also enjoy their moment in the spot light. Although my uncle was the known host, my Auntie Dot was well known for orchestrating the preparations that were needed for these open houses. My Grandmother and Mother were no different. I decided to take a moment to reflect on these women and my memories of their beloved homes, especially their kitchens.
Since I was a little girl, I have found great comfort in kitchens. I can’t help it feel that it stems from the love my Aunt, Grandmother, and Mom had for each of their spaces. Each kitchen had an element that I cherish to this day and showcased a uniqueness to each personality. My Mother designed her space to encompass many different desires ranging from ample counter space for dishes around her stove, central butcher block, and her favorite- the grocery closet. As a child I would bring my toys into the kitchen to play as she cooked. When my siblings and I were old enough, we would drag the kitchen chairs to the butcher block and take turns mixing and stirring the food being prepared for dinner. These habits seamlessly transferred to my Grandmother’s kitchen where she would allow us to play games that included taking pots and pans in and out of cupboards. The pot of tomato sauce with meatballs and pork was always warming on the back-right burner and its savory aroma drifted gently in the air. I can still smell it and when I close my eyes I also see a broom stick straddled between the counters with drying pasta! Although I was not granted the same freedoms in my Aunt’s kitchen, it had this one magical element that I will never forget. By the entry door a trivet hung. It featured a boy and girl kissing, a cooked turkey underneath them, and along the crescent border was a saying. “Kissin Don’t Last But Cookin Do.” I am not sure when or why it started but I adored that trivet the same way I cherished my Mom’s grocery closet and my Grandmother’s ever-present pot of sauce. It fit so beautifully into the sense of humor of these ladies. When my Uncle passed this was the one item I wanted as it encompassed so many memories. Although I did not receive the original from Auntie Dot’s kitchen, I did find and purchase an exact replica from Etsy. I believe it was my Aunt and Grandma that helped me discover it. I have it in a safe place in my kitchen and one of these days I will get around to hanging it!
I take great comfort in imagining these ladies in their dream kitchens, happily cooking, and feeding their loved ones. Through each of them I picked up various recipes and learned little tricks along the way. One of my favorites is the Italian Sweet Bread. It is a pleasure to share it with now as it was and is a stable treat for the spring season. I hope you enjoy this recipe as this bread is a great addition with coffee and/ or tea.
Kristina Lucia xoxo