Family Kitchen

For Sherry’s prompt at Toads, Grandma’s Kitchen. I apologize for the length of this. Usually my entries are brief and to the point. But as far as food and cooking are concerned, well…

Haibun: Family Kitchen
“The kitchen is the heart of every home, for the most part. It evokes memories of your family history.” –
Debi Mazar

There was no such thing as “grandma’s kitchen”. There was simply, the kitchen. When my grandmother’s grandfather built the house, it was in the days when families lived together, multi-generational, early Victorian. We all gathered there – to eat or to take turns making meals, do homework, play cards. Vegetables from the garden were canned, jams and jellies made. We all pitched in. I remember making a meal of pancakes and bacon when I was six, standing on a chair so I could reach the stove burners. Mistakes were “hidden” in the bellies of our dogs and cats. I also stood on a chair to “help” whoever was making the meal for the night – usually my grandmother or father, sometimes my mother or grandfather. I had primo knife skills by the time I was seven.

I learned everything about what I know about food and cooking in that kitchen – and how to get along with other people in the kitchen and to stay out of other people’s way when they were preparing food or how to zip in and give a helping hand.

I also learned about poetry in that kitchen. While doing homework, my teenaged aunts would real aloud Shakespeare, Shelley, Yeats, Frost, Sandburg. It was in the kitchen that my harried grandmother went to our library and came back with my first love, the Collected Works of T.S.Eliot and handed to me to assuage my boredom as an 11 year old. The same copy permanently resides on my bedside table.
seasons change – food changes –
people change – the love remains-
memories continue

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherry Marr
    Sep 20, 2019 @ 13:45:28

    Oh Toni, I loved every word of this. How wonderful to live with extended family, to have had such a childhood. I could see it all, you standing on the chair helping (and cooking!!), the jams and preserves being canned……wonderful memories. This was a glorious read. I didnt want it to end.


    • kanzensakura
      Sep 20, 2019 @ 13:49:21

      Thank you Sherry. It was a great time! I try to foster the same feelings in my home kitchen and my aunts so as well. LOL, it was actually very close to being in a professional kitchen with all the different people and duties. I love it.


  2. Frank J. Tassone
    Sep 20, 2019 @ 16:24:36

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #6: Toni Spencer’s latest #haibun!


  3. oldegg
    Sep 20, 2019 @ 20:41:46

    What an absolutely delightful account of your childhood in the kitchen; a real pleasure to read.


  4. jaerose37
    Sep 21, 2019 @ 08:10:33

    What a wonderful gift for words you have inherited


  5. Rall
    Sep 21, 2019 @ 09:33:30

    The kitchen is the hearth of the home…yours was a magical one too !


  6. kim881
    Sep 21, 2019 @ 10:31:57

    I enjoyed the family history so much, Toni, and it’s obvious where you get your love of food, cooking and poetry from!


  7. Helen L Dehner
    Sep 21, 2019 @ 12:23:52

    To have a grandmother who fostered a love for poetry at such a young age … how blessed you are.


    • kanzensakura
      Sep 21, 2019 @ 17:14:11

      LOL. She was trying to stop my whining about being bored and hot. We were a poetry family and we all shared the responsibility of cooking and reading/writing poetry. I was truly blessed.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10



  8. Susie Clevenger
    Sep 21, 2019 @ 18:00:10

    Goodness, it sounds like such a wonderful place. So thankful you lived it and it lives on in your memories.


  9. Vivian Zems
    Sep 22, 2019 @ 07:49:15

    What a lovely sense of gathering. I laughed at the part of mistakes being hidden in the bellies of the pets. And your last lines are perfect.


  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Sep 22, 2019 @ 11:43:22

    Oh I remember that you have told me about the kitchen before… this is how we all should live.


  11. Linda Lee Lyberg
    Sep 23, 2019 @ 10:38:21

    What an exquisite way to grow up Toni. You’ve described it beautifully!


  12. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 00:11:36

    What a nurturing and blessed place for you to share with the ones you love – What a rich experience for one to have… a memory you obviously cling to – as would I!


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