Haibun – Kitchen

Today Lillian is giving th prompt for dVerse Poets Pub. She is asking us to write about the first room we remember. She has given us many details on correctly writing a haibun and a haiku. Thank you Lillian. the first room I remember is our kitchen in our old home place. It has traveled with me around the world, in restaurants where I cooked professionally, in homes I have lived. This will be posted on dVerse Poets Pub and on Real Toads, Tuesday Platform

Haibun: Kitchen
“For me, the cooking life has been a long love affair, with moments both sublime and ridiculous. But like a love affair, looking back you remember the happy times best —the things that drew you in, attracted you in the first place, the things that kept you coming back for more.” Anthony Bourdain

Our house was old. It was built by my grandfather’s great grandfather. There were three stories and a basement and root cellar. There was a system of dumb waiters going from the kitchen up to the second floor, a butler’s pantry, water closets that were still in use when the house was sold in 2000. Ceiling fans had been installed in 1900 – the kind with the long chains that went down to the floor and the chain slowly travelled up to the ceiling. There were also wrap around porches with ceiling fans on those as well. But my favorite room in the whole house was the kitchen. There were two kitchens actually. The original that was out back under a walkway and the inside kitchen. The inside kitchen was the stuff of dreams with high ceilings, cabinets galore, long floor to ceiling windows, the butler’s pantry (not that we ever had one since the depression), two real ice boxes, a wood stove, an eight eye gas stove, and three ovens. There was a long table at which we all ate and a plain white pine table on which bread was made – biscuits, yeast breads, popovers, donuts – all of them rolled out on the table and formed or cut out. This table was where the veggies were prepared, cakes were mixed, meat prepared for roasting or frying.

I remember standing in a chair watching my grandmother or father and later my two aunts, preparing the food. Then I began to cook for the family when I could. I was the one sent down to the root cellar to bring up potatoes or onions, turnips, or jars of canned veggies, pickles, or preserves. The attached outside kitchen was where we did the food preparation for food preservation. My grandfather crafted a long iron ladder like affair where pots and pans hung. It was my first ideal of a kitchen and remains such today. My professional kitchens were always arranged according to the plan in the old house and my kitchen at home mimics the same plan. There was a huge zinc sink big enough to bathe a pig in plus the regular sink with built-in drain. So many meals in that kitchen! Fresh garden produce grown in our garden was a summer staple. We often ate meatless meals before it became popular. I will safely bet a ton of greens were prepared there thought the years, Hams hung in the cold pantry along with ropes of sausage, baskets of eggs, bins of flour, cornmeal, rice stood about. I miss that kitchen. That kitchen was where I learned to love food, where my love affair with food began.
gentle snow falls –
inside the smell of soup lures –
love and joy abounds

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lillian
    Jul 23, 2018 @ 22:33:19

    Ah Toni….the queen of the haibun. The details abound here – what an amazing kitchen you grew up with. Your details put me right there. And the beautiful haiku that wraps up the haibun….the winter season kigu written in the falling snow — the kireji with the hyphen. And then the shift in focus to the interior again with a scent and the predominance of love. Lovely!


  2. V.J. Knutson
    Jul 23, 2018 @ 23:36:41

    What a rich experience- nurtured in so many ways! Love the haiku


  3. Frank Hubeny
    Jul 24, 2018 @ 00:30:49

    That is a kitchen to remember. I can see how you would want to imitate the plan.


  4. kim881
    Jul 24, 2018 @ 02:59:54

    It seems to me you were destined to be a chef, Toni! I love the description of your childhood home, which sounds very grand, especially the inside kitchen. What a treat to watch family members cooking. I was always chased out of my grandmother’s tiny scullery – there was only room for one person, otherwise it was a close dance to get things done. Snow and soup – a great combination!


    • kanzensakura
      Jul 24, 2018 @ 06:50:59

      Yrs it does sound grand but on reality it was a lot of work to keep the place clean and in order. There were several empty rooms that were closed off and the place was decidedly shabby. We actually were poor in money. My grandmother was determined all of us women would have college educations. My great-grandfather lived with us and he was smart but irascible. We also “took in” my grandfather’s sister and her son, fed both of them. So there was a lot of stretching and saving. But all three of her daughter’s (My mother included) went to university. My grandmother’s mother had died of TB when she was 11 and was on her own until she married my grandfather. But the house was full of love. My mother got her accounting degree, my middle aunt became a petroengineer, my youngest aunt became a nurse and educator. I was the ne’er do well becoming a chef and going back to university to become an environmental engineer. We all got scholarships. Then I went back to chef, and then back to engineer. More than you wanted to know! But in it’s own way, it was grand but it was a lot of work and I wore lot of second hand and made over clothing. I didn’t mind. I thought it gave me a certain Jo March kind of charm, lol.

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  5. annell4
    Jul 24, 2018 @ 08:34:51

    I loved it all, the story of the kitchen, a dream kitchen, with lots of room, and what memories to watch your Grandmother cook. Of course you would be a chef, did you always know that is what you would be? And of course other “stuff,” too. Thanks for sharing the first room you remember.


  6. coalblack
    Jul 24, 2018 @ 09:06:42

    There are places that worm themselves into our hearts and spirits before we even know it. They are our touchstones, our tribal home grounds, our first loves. They will always be there.


  7. rothpoetry
    Jul 24, 2018 @ 12:26:30

    I love your story! So many great details give a great picture. The second kitchen was probably what we called a Summer Kitchen where you cooked to keep the heat out of the house during the summer months. A great post!


  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jul 24, 2018 @ 15:51:53

    This is a great way to have a kitchen… though i have always had to live with less. The different areas for different things sounds like such a luxury… but we do have a root cellar (that works for wine as well)


    • kanzensakura
      Jul 24, 2018 @ 16:08:03

      If I had my house now, I would have a place for wine! My grandfather was an alcoholic so we never had any in the house.

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  9. lynn__
    Jul 25, 2018 @ 14:45:04

    A delightfully warm write taking us right into your inviting and ideal kitchen…lovely haibun, Toni!


  10. merrildsmith
    Jul 26, 2018 @ 07:17:56

    It sounds like a wonderful home and kitchen. I love kitchens–I work in mine, so I can cook and write at the same time. Sitting there now–with one cat by my side and the other in view in the dining room. 🙂


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